Indexing Transformation seminar: ‘How is Capitalism Racial? Fanon and Critical Theory’

Please join us for our forthcoming Indexing Transformation seminar.

Hylton White, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Witwatersrand University:

‘How is Capitalism Racial? Fanon and Critical Theory’

Thursday, March 22, 2018

1pm – 2pm (Questions and answers until about 2.30pm)
R401, 4th Floor
Arts and Social Sciences Building


If capitalism is premised on accumulation through processes of abstraction, which undermine attachments to identities of any kind, then why has the development of capitalist society been accompanied by the prevalence of racist ideology? I outline a proposal for addressing the question by bringing into conversation (a) some comments by Fanon on modern racial ideology, particularly concerning the relationship between anti-black racism and anti-Semitism, and (b) work in critical theory on the relationship between capitalism, anti-Semitism, and populism. I argue that anti-Semitism and anti-black racism keep recurring in capitalist society because they form a pair of complementary devices for falsely concretising the structure of capitalist alienation, not as the general structuring of activity which it is, but rather as the work of anti-social racial types: the Jew of anti-Semitism, as will without labour, and the Black of anti-black racism, as labor without will.