Dangerous Conjunctures: Balibar & Wallerstein’s Race, Nation, Class

The current conjunctures of racism, nationalism, and unequal class relations call for new analyses. As early as 1988 the political philosopher Étienne Balibar and the sociologist and historian Immanuel Wallerstein pressed for a new understanding of racism. In their book Race, Nation, Class. Ambiguous Identities, they traced the paradoxes of capitalist society. Within the framework of the long-term project 100 Years of Now, the three-day symposium at HKW undertakes a reassessment of the book in the spirit of a “practice of theory.” Why don’t global capitalism and nationalism mutually obstruct one another? What analyses of racism need to be developed today? Are nationalism and racism strengthened by capitalist crises? And how can effective counter-policies be developed?

In an evening lecture, Étienne Balibar sets out to update the analysis he developed together with Immanuel Wallerstein: How is the reciprocal relationship between “race,” “class,” and “nation” to be grasped as a single overarching problem? The sociologist Nilüfer Göle illuminates the left’s difficult relationship with religion, which is particularly apparent in the attitude towards Islam in Europe. Thu & Fri, Mar 15 &16, 7.30pm

Four thematic sessions structure the symposium: What is Racism Today? examines how new cultural racisms are superimposed on forms of racism employing biologistic arguments—but without diminishing their power. How is racism reconfigured, as technological developments reorganize whole sections of the working world, irrespective of borders, and generate the unimagined potential for surveillance? With the sociologist Zimitri Erasmus, the anthropologist Shahram Khosravi, the data researcher Maya Indira Ganesh, the geographer and activist Ruth Wilson Gilmore, the critical race studies scholar David Theo Goldberg, and the political theorist Françoise Vergès. Thu, Mar 15, 3pm

The massive transformations of nation-states brought about by globalized capitalism are the subject of The Nation-Form: Histories and Presence: Which (contradictory) functions do nationalism and racism fulfill under global capitalism? How are traditional household structures integrated into a global service economy which is based on migration and informal work? With the anthropologist Kaushik Sunder Rajan, the legal scholar Brenna Bhandar, the critical race and gender studies scholar Kalindi Vora, and the literary scholar Baidik Bhattacharya. Fri, Mar 16, 10am

Rethinking Class and Class Politics Today examines the potential of a class politics which no longer assumes a homogeneous subject of the working class. Which social movements currently drive forward emancipatory class politics? With the social scientist and activist Verónica Gago, the political theorist Sandro Mezzadra, the anthropologist Kelly Gillespie, the historian, and literary scholar Wang Hui, the sociologist and activist Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, and the political philosopher Antonio Negri. Fri, Mar 16, 3pm

In Current Conjunctures of Racism, participants form the three previous sessions will discuss how racism is (re)produced as a social relation under global capitalism, developing strategies for a new, critical anti-racism. Moderated by David T. Goldberg and the social scientist Vanessa Eileen Thompson. Sat, Mar 17, 10am

The conversations Six Perspectives for a “Practice of Theory” subject Balibar and Wallerstein’s theses to an analysis: How do they resonate today in different local contexts? Does the renunciation of the class compromise inevitably result in a strengthening of racism? With the cultural scientist Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, the philosopher Maria Chehonadskih, Verónica Gago, the political scientist Ranabir Samaddar, the philosopher Petar Bojanić, and many more. Sat, Mar 17, 2p

Interview film: In the film Intersecting Optics: A Dialogue on “Race, Nation, Class” 30 years on, specially produced for the symposium, Étienne Balibar, and Immanuel Wallerstein discuss the context of the book’s genesis and update its central theses together with Manuela Bojadžijev. Thu-Sat, Mar 15-17, from 2pm

Publication: On the occasion of the symposium the reader Balibar/Wallerstein’s “Race, Nation, Class”: Rereading a Dialogue for Our Times will be published by Argument Verlag, edited by Manuela Bojadžijev and Katrin Klingan (ISBN 978-3-86754-511-2, English, during the symposium 12.50€, later 20€). With contributions from Norman Ajari, Rana Anani, Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Manuela Bojadžijev, Petar Bojanić, Maria Chehonadskih, Karl Dahlquist, William Ellis, Andrea Fagioli, Marjan Ivković und Djurdja Trajković, Matan Kaminer, Dimitris Kousouris, Nasser Mufti, Chikako Nakayama, Maurilio Pirone, Philippe Rekacewicz, Ranabir Samaddar, John Solomos, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, and Mark Terkessidis

Curated by Manuela Bojadžijev and Katrin Klingan

Dangerous Conjunctures. Resituating Balibar/Wallerstein’s “Race, Nation, Class” is a project within the framework of 100 Years of Now, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media in accordance with a ruling of the German Bundestag. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Federal Foreign Office.

Dangerous Conjunctures
Resituating Balibar/Wallerstein’s Race, Nation, Class

March 15-17, 2018, admission free

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