What I Am Thinking About Now: Anthony Bogues, “Black Critique: Race, Freedom and Capitalism”

, Room 103

Please join us for a “What I Am Thinking About Now” presentation by Anthony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and Director of the Center of the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University.

“Black Critique: Race, Freedom & Capitalism”
There is currently a burgeoning field of historiography called the “New Histories of Capitalism”. In this talk, Professor Bogues will shift the gaze of this new field from that of the emergence of American capitalism to that of the European colonial empires, the slave trade, and colonial slavery. The argument is that capitalism emerges with different forms of unfree labor, colonial settlements and investment structures constructed through the 1500 and 1600s. Subsequently, the periodization of capitalism into different phases elides the centrality of the process of capitalism within the colonies. Thus the colonial period was not a stage of primitive accumulation. The conventional historical argument about the emergence of capitalism proceeds from an archival gaze which only privileges European historiography, political economy and not forms of life in the colonies. The talk will engage in a comparative discussion on slave laws and how these encoded hierarchical classifications of the human. In the end, it will gesture to a different view of the Haitian revolution, not as a slave revolution but the first revolution of political modernity posing central questions about human freedom.

RSVP: [email protected]. Snacks and caffeine will be provided.

“What I Am Thinking About Now” is an on-going informal workshop/seminar series to which faculty and graduate students are invited to present and discuss recently published work and work in progress. All are invited to attend and participate.