Resituating Balibar / Wallerstein‘s Race, Nation, Class

Racism articulates itself through class relations and intensifies in nationalist currents. A new understanding of this dynamic is needed in order to create emancipatory-solidary and social models. That is the diagnosis of the seminal volume Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities by Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein. Thirty years after it was first published—at a time when this sinister triad rises again—theorists and activists redefine the ways their ambiguous relations work.

In addition to lectures by Étienne Balibar and Nilüfer Göle many others will join the discussion at HKW: Verónica Gago, social scientist and founding member of Colectivo Situaciones in Buenos Aires; Antonio Negri, who addresses issues of globalized agency in his writings with Michael Hardt; the sociologist Zimitri Erasmus, who researches anti-racism and apartheid; Ruth Wilson Gilmore, who studies revolution and reform, the prison-industrial complex, and the African diaspora; the historian and literary scholar Wang Hui, who critically analyses China’s political and economic transformations; Brenna Bhandar, a legal scholar, who examines the connection between racism and land ownership in settler colonialism; and Maria Chehonadskih, a philosopher specialized in post-soviet politics and art theory.

Both state and society are undergoing widespread change, whether through the effects of global financialization on local markets, the logistical interpenetration of production and everyday life, or digitization, which presents new challenges to the concept of (state) citizenship. Through the course of global capitalism, racist structures have been realigned and the previously established class structures are being transformed. New transnational social movements are forming in opposition—such as feminist initiatives in Latin America, the #Black Lives Matter movement, and the struggle for self-determination by immigrants in Europe. This conflicting situation makes a redefinition of the conjunction of racism, unequal class relations, and nationalisms necessary.

Race, Nation, Class has been translated into nine languages since it was first published in French in 1988.  The reception of the book in Greece, the UK, Israel, Italy, Japan, Palestine, Russia, Sweden, South Korea, and the USA will be researched in the run-up to the symposium. Workshops currently taking place in Ankara, Belgrade, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Kolkata, and Cape Town, are discussing its contemporary relevance and will form the basis for the symposium at HKW.

The book Race, Nation, Class. Rereading a Dialogue for Our Times, edited by Manuela Bojadžijev and Katrin Klingan (ISBN 978-3-86754-511-2) summarizes the talks and discussions from the workshops taking place internationally, as well as the research on the book’s international reception. It will be published on the occasion of the symposium at Argument Verlag in English. The argument will also be publishing a reprint of the German edition of Race, Class, Nation. Ambiguous Identities by Balibar and Wallerstein (Rasse, Klasse, Nation. Ambivalent Identitäten, ISBN 978-3-88619-386-8, 20 €).

In the run-up to the symposium, the researchers and filmmakers Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani will produce a film in which Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, in conversation with the cultural scientist Manuela Bojadžijev, illuminate the context of the book’s genesis, discuss its approach, and update central theories from today’s perspective. The film will be shown at the HKW on the three days of the conference.

With Étienne Balibar, Brenna Bhandar, Baidik Bhattacharya, Petar Bojanić, Maria Chehonadskih, Karl Dahlquist, Zimitri Erasmus, Verónica Gago, Kelly Gillespie, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, David Theo Goldberg, Nilüfer Göle, Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, Geraldine Heng, Wang Hui, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Sandro Mezzadra, Nasser Mufti, Antonio Negri, Ranabir Samaddar, Nishant Shah, John Solomos,  Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Françoise Vergès, Kalindi Vora, and many more.

Publication with contributions from Norman Ajari, Rana Anani, Ahmet Murat Aytaç, Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Manuela Bojadžijev, Petar Bojanić, Maria Chehonadskih, Karl Dahlquist, William Ellis, Andrea Fagioli, Marjan Ivković and Djurdja Trajković, Matan Kaminer, Dimitris Kousouris, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee,  Nasser Mufti, Chikako Nakayama, Maurilio Pirone, Philippe Rekacewicz, Ranabir Samaddar, John Solomon, and Mark Terkessidis.

Curated by Manuela Bojadžijev and Katrin Klingan.

Dangerous Conjunctures. Resituating Balibar/Wallerstein‘s “Race, Nation, Class” is part of 100 Years of Now, which is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag. Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.

Dangerous Conjunctures
Resituating Balibar/Wallerstein‘s Race, Nation, Class
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
March 15-17, 2018

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