Confronting Racial Capitalism: The Black Radical Tradition & Cultures of Liberation

11/20/2014 - 11/21/2014
All Day
Skylight Conference Room, 9th Floor

Occasioned by the work of Cedric J. Robinson, this symposium brings together leading radical thinkers to consider the history and ongoing struggle against racial capitalism. From Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition to his more recent work, Forgeries of Memory and Meaning: Blacks and the Regimes of Race in American Theatre and Film Before World War II, Robinson’s scholarship has been unafraid to think big. Through two days of conversation, we aim to do the same. We will ask:

– How has the Black Radical Tradition created tools for liberation?

– How must we sharpen the analysis of racial capitalism?

– How are ideological struggles essential to radical politics?

– What is the contemporary range, strength, and vulnerability of spaces for radical thought?

– How can we transform individual pleasure into collective joy?

– How can we learn from past failures without accepting defeat?










NOVEMBER 20, 2014



PANEL 1 (1.30-3.30PM)




Radical opponents of racial capitalism and imperialism have offered bold counters to the dominant ideology. Through poetry, literature, radio, and oral history, they have inspired new visions of solidarity among oppressed peoples beyond borders. This panel features journalists, historians, and activists whose work has illuminated histories and cultures of liberation. Shaped by the intersections of domestic antiracist and global anti-imperialist struggles, panelists THULANI DAVIS, ELIZABETH ROBINSON, and PAUL ORTIZ will discuss their ongoing work to document, enrich, and embolden radical political imaginations. Moderated by JORDAN T. CAMP.



EVENING PLENARY (6.00PM-8.00PM)      



20 COOPER SQUARE, 7TH FLOOR             



Cedric J. Robinson’s influential works have explored the systems of knowledge and ignorance through which race is proposed as a justification for power relations. These racial regimes, as he calls them, have been intrinsic to U.S. capitalism since its inception. From the standpoint of the early 21st century, this plenary asks what is to be learned from critiques of racial regimes in the early 20th century? As structural unemployment, militarized policing, prisons, and war have become permanent features of the political economy, how do we confront racial regimes at present? RUTH WILSON GILMORE and ROBIN D. G. KELLEY discuss these and other issues with CEDRIC J. ROBINSON.





NOVEMBER 21, 2014

PANEL 2 (10am-12pm)




This panel explores the culture and politics of anti-capitalist traditions that emerged from anti-colonial and anti-imperial struggles across Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. From anti-imperialist music in the Caribbean, to Pan-African currents in the Comintern, to the anti-colonial radicalism of Frantz Fanon, panelists HAKIM ADI, DANIEL WIDENER, and FRANÇOISE VERGÈS discuss these cross currents and unanticipated global solidarities. Moderated by ANI MUKHERJI.


PANEL 3 (2:00-4:00 pm)




This session discusses the question of solidarity in the struggle against apartheid, racial capitalism, and permanent war from the early Cold War to the present. JACK O’DELL, BARBARA RANSBY, and NIKHIL PAL SINGH explore the challenges and opportunities of antiracist internationalism from struggles against apartheid South Africa to the liberation of Palestine to ongoing struggles against settler colonialism worldwide. Moderated by CHRISTINA HEATHERTON







The closing session features ANGELA Y. DAVIS and GINA DENT in conversation about abolition feminism, policing, war, and the prison industrial complex. In consideration of urgent social movements confronting racial capitalism in the present, they discuss struggles for freedom not predicated on the unfreedom of others. Moderated by AVERY F. GORDON.



Hakim Adi, Professor of History of Africa and the African Diaspora, University of Chichester in England.

Jordan T. Camp, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for African American Studies, Princeton University.

Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz. 

Thulani Davis, Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gina Dent, Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, and Legal Studies, UC Santa Cruz.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences & American Studies, CUNY Graduate Center.

Avery F. Gordon, Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara.

Christina Heatherton, Assistant Professor, American Studies, Trinity College.

Robin D. G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History, UCLA.

S. Ani Muhkerji, Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies, Honors College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Jack O’Dell, Civil rights, labor, and peace activist; former editor of Freedomways magazine; writer; and public intellectual.

Paul Ortiz, Director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Project, and Associate Professor of History, University of Florida.

Barbara Ransby, Professor, African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History, and Director of the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Cedric J. Robinson, Professor Emeritus of Black Studies and Political Science, UC Santa Barbara.

Elizabeth Robinson, Radio journalist and co-host of television show “Third World News Review” as well as radio show “No Alibis,” KCSB 91.9 FM, UC Santa Barbara.

Nikhil Pal Singh, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University.

Françoise Vergès, Consulting Professor at Center for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, and president of the Comité pour la Mémoire et l’Histoire de l’Esclavage (France).

 Daniel Widener, Associate Professor of History, UC San Diego.




FILM and discussion with filmmaker: Zinda Bhaag

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Room C198, CUNY Graduate Center

Please join us for a screening and discussion of Zinda Bhaag, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Meenu Gaur, moderated by Saadia Toor.

November 3, 2014


Room C198

Graduate Center, CUNY


What makes a man step into a cargo container that is going to be sealed for days? Why does he step into a flimsy overloaded boat to face a stormy sea? Or dart across international borders dodging bullets? What are the compulsions faced by men in Pakistan, which make them take extreme risks to chase a mirage of a secure future in alien lands?

Set against the backdrop of the world of illegal immigration, Zinda Bhaag is a film about three young men trying to escape the reality of their everyday lives … and succeeding in ways they had least expected.

In Samnabad, a nondescript neighbourhood of Lahore, three friends are desperate to get on to the fast track to success. Khaldi, Taambi and Chitta, all in their early twenties, believe that the only way out … is to the West.

The journey that unfolds through the story of this film gives us a peep into what constitutes the everyday in the lives of many young men and women in Pakistan – a sense of entitlement that cannot be fulfilled, desperation to somehow prove themselves in the face of all legitimate doors being locked and an ennui from which they feel there is no getaway.

“Zinda Bhaag (Run for your life), Pakistan’s first official Oscar entry in 50 years is a surprisingly realistic slice-of- life depiction of life in Lahore. It is a discourse on a crucial global topic, illegal immigration and human trafficking and yet it is also a breath of fresh air with funky costumes, exaggerated yet marvellous acting, and sparkling comic dialogue. The film has won several awards in International film festivals and critics have called it “the best film to have come out of modern day Pakistani cinema”(The Express Tribune, Pakistan), “the new metaphor for Pakistani cinema”(The Hindu, India) and noted critic Robert Abele in the LA TIMES called the film “thoughtful”and said that the film “bode(d) well for the possibility of noteworthy Pakistani imports in years to come”.



Meenu Gaur, co-director and writer of Zinda Bhaag (Run for your life, 2013) completed her PhD in Film and Media Studies from the University of London in 2010. She is the co-editor of the book ‘Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change’, published by Routledge 2011 and distributed by OUP Pakistan. She is also the co-director of the award winning documentary film, ‘Paradise On a River of Hell’.

Mazhar Zaidi, Producer of Zinda Bhaag (Run for your life, 2013) has been working as a journalist and filmmaker for over 20 years. As a journalist he has worked with BBC World Service in London and headed the department of documentaries and current affairs at Pakistan’s leading English language TV channel, Dawn news from 2008 to 2010. He has made several documentaries including, ‘Nar Narman,’ and ‘F E Choudhry’s Pakistan’ (2014).

Saadia Toor is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Staten Island, CUNY.  Her scholarship revolves around issues of culture, nationalism, gender/sexuality, state formation, and international political economy. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled The State of Islam?: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan.


This event is sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics



Philosophical Theologies & Philosophy of Religion in Africana Traditions

9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Elebash Recital Hall

The inaugural Annual conference on Philosophical Theologies & Philosophy of Religion in Africana Traditions

October 24 & 25, 2014

Friday October 24, 2014, 9:00 AM – 9:00PM

Elebash Recital Hall

Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10016

Saturday October 25, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

The Commons

388 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn New York 11217

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The initial conference will explore various philosophical expressions of ultimate reality within   Africana traditions. Considerations will be given to theistic and non –theistic orientations, religious movements that emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, syncretism   of older traditions (Vodun, Santeria, etc), cosmic religions, atheologies and religion and science.

Broad premise: Religions are personal and cultural guidance systems. These systems of thought and expressions have personal, social, political, and economic consequences which can be subjected to sophisticated casual analysis. Papers will analyze  the obvious and underlying assumptions, actual practices,   conceptual formulations,   and where applicable eschatological expectations related to the worldviews under consideration.

A broad spectrum of religious and philosophical world views are being practiced by African descendant people in the Americas    that affect all areas of their lives. This conference will examine how place and time influence   personal, communal, institutional and national philosophical and religious identities and what and are some of their    social, economical, and political manifestations. Consideration will also be given to civil religions and how they are operational in everyday life.

Please direct any inquiries to J. Everet Green at

The conference is free and open to the public.

Philosphical 3


Friday October 24, 2014

9:00 am—9:00 pm


 9:20 am—9:45 am: Greetings and Opening Statement

 J. Everet Green (Mercy College)

 Mary Taylor (CUNY Graduate Center)

10:00 am—11:00 am: Four Types of Soteriology

Speaker: David E. McClean (Molloy College & Rutgers University)

Chair: Sara Mokuria

11:10 am—12:15 pm

William R. Jones and Philosophical Theology: Transgressing and Transforming Conventional Boundaries of Black Liberation Theology

 Speaker: Brittany O’Neal (Michigan State University)

Chair: Aileen Mokuria

LUNCH 12:15—1:20


1:40—2:50 pm

Greetings and Introduction

 J. Everet Green

With What Alexander Crummell’s Conception of Black Nationalism Begins and Ends?

 Speaker: Frank M. Kirkland (Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center)

 3:00 pm—4:20 pm

What’s Wrong With Philosophy?: Confession of a Non-Africana Thinker

Speaker: Enid Bloch (Independent Scholar)

Chair: Julie Siestreen

4:30 pm

Memorial Minutes for Leo Downs (Lifelong member of the Society for the Study of                      Africana Philosophy)

BREAK 4:40—5:00 pm Break

5:10—6:40 pm

Geographies of Denial: Vodou Doesn’t Believe in God

 Speaker: Manbo Asogwe Dowoti Desir

 Chair: Sara Mokuria

7:00—8:30 pm

Recital The Blue Line Project

Performing: “EXALTATION”:  A multi media performance


Kerry Malone Brown (Band leader, saxophone and flute)

Joe Tranchina (piano)

Doug Richardson (drums)

Eric Lemons (bass)

Special appearance by Al Mosley (trumpet)

                       And DJ ACE



388 Atlantic Avenue

Brooklyn, New York

   Saturday October 25, 2014

  9:00—5:00 pm

 9:00—9:20 am



Sin Has Many Tools But A Lie Is the Handle That Fits Them All

 Speaker: Richard F. Ford, Sr. (Independent Scholar)

Chair: Aileen Mokuria

 10:40—12 noon

J. Leonard Farmer on the Mysteries of the Second Isaiah

Speaker: Greg Moses (Texas State University)

Chair: Silvia Federici

LUNCH 12:00—1:30


Muslim Women Engaging With Islamic and Western Knowledge Systems in the Sahel

Speaker: Ousseina Alidou (Rutgers University)

Chair: Kimberly Ann Harris (Pennsylvania State University)


Is Christianity a Major Contributing Factor to Black Oppression?

Speaker: Zay D. Green

Chair: Kimberly Ann Harris

 3:35—4:40 pm

Discussion: Philosophy and Religion   in Africana Traditions

Yusuf Nuruddin (University of Massachusetts Boston), Manbo Asogwe Dowoti Desir, David McClean, Ousseina Alidou

Chair: George Caffentzis

Closing Remarks

The capacity of the recital hall is 189, and no registration is required for the event.

 This conference is sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the CUNY Graduate Center

Special thanks to Mary Taylor at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics for working assiduously behind the scene to make this event possible and to Manbo Asogwe Dowoti in assisting with the design of the announcement and the program.




After Gezi, After the Elections, After ISIS: Politics in Turkey Now

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Room 9206/9207

After Gezi, After the Elections, After ISIS: Politics in Turkey Now 

This panel will present a conversation about the current political context in Turkey, in the wake of popular protests (Gezi and its follow-ups), parliamentary and presidential elections (which have strengthened the hand of the ruling AK Party), and regional politics (particularly the horror of Syria and the rise of ISIS).

 Monday, October 20, 6:30-8:30pm, Rooms 9206/9207 



Burcu Baykurt is a PhD candidate in Communications at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she studies how technological change is affecting cultures of policymaking, journalism, and politics. She has written about and worked with citizen journalist networks in Turkey such as 140journos.

Ayça Çubukçu is Assistant Professor in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Previously, she taught for the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University and the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Committee on Globalization and Social Change at The Graduate Center. She is Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Turkey Page.

Aslı Iğsızis Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Her teaching and research interests include cultural representation and cultural history, narratives of war and displacement, and dynamics of heterogeneity in late Ottoman and contemporary Turkish contexts.

Duygu Parmaksizoglu is a PhD candidate in the anthropology department at The Graduate Center. She recently conducted a year-long field study of urban redevelopment/gentrification in Istanbul. While doing research, she actively participated in the Gezi demonstrations of June 2013, and in the aftermath, she served as one of the spokespersons of the Urban Movements Istanbul Organization.

Cihan Tekay is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at The Graduate Center. Her research interests include gender and the labor movement, secularism and nationalism within the left, and the history of social movements in Turkey. She has been active in various social movements in the US and in Turkey, including antiracist, feminist, ecological, anticapitalist, and international solidarity work. She is a contributor to the Turkish daily Radikal and to Mashallah News, and is Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Turkey Page.

Emrah Yildiz is a Joint PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His research interests include historiography and ethnography of borderlands, anthropology of Islam and pilgrimage, political economy and contraband commerce, as well as studies of gender and sexuality in the Middle East. He is Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Turkey Page, and co-editor of the collection “Resistance Everywhere”: The Gezi Protests and Dissident Visions of Turkey.

The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics.

This event is open and free to the public.

Book Talk: Until the Rulers Obey

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Room 6112

Please join Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein in a discussion of their book Until the Rulers Obey.

Wednesday, October 15, 6:30-8:30 PM

Room 6112 (sociology lounge)

Graduate Center, CUNY

Until the Rulers Obey brings together voices from the movements behind the wave of change that swept Latin America at the turn of the 21st century. These movements have galvanized long-silent—or silenced—sectors of society: indigenous people, campesinos, students, the LGBT community, the unemployed, and all those left out of the promised utopia of a globalized economy.  Editors Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein will talk about some of the key lessons these movements have to offer—lessons in strategic relations with the state, and in the creation of alternative spaces—and probe some questions their book raises: Social movements clash with progressive governments across the region over resource extraction. What does this mean politically? With whom, and how, do we practice “solidarity” in the present context? What lessons from our Latin American counterparts can we apply to our work of social transformation in the United States?

This event is sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics

Until the Rulers Obey Cover-lgflyer-CPCP


“Prison is a form of violence against women”

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


The Center for the Study of Women and Society


A Panel Discussion on Women’s Prison Issues 



Moderated by VICTORIA LAW.

The event will be a curated video program and discussion about the motivations for and processes of organizing against prisons as gender violence.

Please join us on October 9, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Room 9206, Graduate Center, CUNY

Co-sponsored with Interference Archive and Center for Place, Culture, and Politics

Women's Prison Issues

free-joan-little-no_7225-fr33aThis event is free and open to the public.


The Case for Debt Refusal, Andrew Ross in discussion with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Peter Hitchcock and David Harvey

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Martin E. Segal Theatre

Please join Andrew Ross in discussion with the Center for Place, Culture and Politics’ own Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Peter Hitchcock, and David Harvey on ‘The Case for Debt Refusal’

Tuesday, September 30 6:30-8:30 PM

Segal Theater, Graduate Center CUNY

“Andrew Ross is the very model for a scholar-activist, and Creditocracy, his latest book, is as compelling as it is important. Let’s hope this makes a difference in the world. It really should.”
—David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years
“In this lucid and accessible book, Andrew Ross argues that we are increasingly oppressed by the rule of credit and that ever more people must go into debt just to access life’s necessities. But Ross not only names the problem; more importantly, he points toward solutions. Read this book and join a debt resistors movement.” —Michael Hardt, co-author of Empire“Andrew Ross’s Creditocracy is the middle finger to our economy’s debt vultures: he lays out a masterful case that we must tell the creditor class to stick it where the repo man don’t shine. Ross is particularly good at picking apart that new form of indentured servitude, the student loan. Creditocracy calls for resistance to our nationwide virtual debtors prison, and it’s about time.”                               
 —Greg Palast, reporter for BBC’s Newsnight and author of Vultures’ Picnic 

“I use Mastercard to pay Visa.” —bumper sticker


About the Book

Creditocracy (n.)

1.      governance or the holding of power in the interests of a creditor class2.      a society where access to vital needs is financed through debt

“It seems like pretty much everybody – homeowners, students, those who are ill and without health insurance, and, of course, credit card holders – is up to their neck in debt that can never be repaid. 77% of US households are seriously indebted and one in seven Americans has been pursued by debt collectors. The major banks are bigger and more profitable than before the 2008 crash, and legislators are all but powerless to bring them to heel.

In this forceful, eye-opening survey, Andrew Ross contends that we are in the cruel grip of a creditocracy – where the finance industry commandeers our elected governments and where the citizenry have to take out loans to meet their basic needs. The implications of mass indebtedness for any democracy are profound, and history shows that whenever a creditor class becomes as powerful as Wall Street, the result has been debt bondage for the bulk of the population.

Following in the ancient tradition of the jubilee, activists have had some success in repudiating the debts of developing countries. The time is ripe, Ross argues, for a debtors’ movement to use the same kinds of moral and legal arguments to bring relief to household debtors in the North. After examining the varieties of lending that have contributed to the crisis, Ross suggests ways of lifting the burden of illegitimate debts from our backs. Just as important, Creditocracy outlines the kind of alternative economy we need to replace a predatory debt-money system that only benefits the 1%.” (

This event is sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics.

BOOK PARTY: Health Rights are Civil Rights

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Room 6112

Please join the Center for Place, Culture and Politics to celebrate the publication of Health Rights Are Civil Rights with author Jenna Loyd.  Karen Miller will make  a brief introduction to the book, followed by refeshments.

Monday September 22, 6:30-8:30 pm. Room 6112.



Jenna M. Loyd is an assistant professor of Public Health Policy & Administration in the Zilber School of Public Health and member of the Urban Studies Program faculty at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After completing her PhD in Geography at University of California, Berkeley, she held postdoctoral fellowships in the Humanities Center at Syracuse University, the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the CUNY Graduate Center, and with the NSF-funded Island Detention Project led by Dr. Alison Mountz. Her first book Health Rights Are Civil Rights: Peace and Justice Activism in Los Angeles, 1963-1978 (2014, University of Minnesota Press) investigates everyday understandings of health and violence and people’s grassroots mobilizations for health and social justice. Her second area of research concerns the criminalization of migration and US immigration detention policy. She is the co-editor, with Matt Mitchelson and Andrew Burridge, of Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis (2012, University of Georgia Press), which won the Association of Borderlands Studies Past Presidents’ Award in 2014. She and Alison Mountz are currently co-authoring a book on the late-Cold War history of the United States immigration detention system.

Karen Miller is Professor of History at LaGuardia Community College. Her book, Managing Inequality: Northern Racial Liberalism and Urban Politics in Interwar Detroit, is forthcoming from NYU press in December 2014. Her current project focuses on American imperialism and the transition to independence in the Philippines.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics



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