Call for Papers

Race and Capital Stream at the Historical Materialism Annual Conference, Central London, 9-12 November 2017

3rd May 2017

CFP: Race and Capital


Stream at the Historical Materialism Annual Conference, Central London, 9-12 November 2017 

Deadline 15 May 2017:




The 2008 crisis has not led to a reckoning with capital, instead we have seen a resurgence in the forces of the right: in both its ‘radical’ and ‘moderate’ varieties. Capital’s primary response to the crisis is the language of racism. From the ‘migrant crisis’, to the racialised policing authority deployed to enforce austerity, to continued racialised military intervention; the connection between race and capital seems clear. The attempt to grapple with these issues has given rise to heated debates on the left about race and racism, and the relationship between the interpersonal the structural. Above all, these debates have related to the question of solidarity and the possibility of united political action in the face of this rising tide of racism. How we analyse and respond to these issues are thus of decisive political importance.


Of course, these questions are not entirely new. In Capital, Marx linked the dawning of capitalist production to a racialised ‘primitive accumulation’ in Africa. More importantly, in the Russian Revolution the Bolsheviks put anti-imperialism at the core of their international political programme. In the process they exerted a decisive influence on the emerging anti-colonial movement: inaugurating the connection between that movement and the Marxist tradition. In the intervening period, writers in the Marxist tradition – for example CLR James, Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall – have attempted to map the fraught relationship between racism, capitalist accumulation and other forms of oppression.


It is into this situation that Historical Materialism‘s Race and Capital stream seeks to intervene. In particular, we seek to use the resources of the Marxist tradition to illuminate questions of race and racism, and – at the same time – use these questions to reformulate key aspects of the Marxist tradition. Understanding this in a broad sense to include issues of race, racism, indigeneity, colonialism, imperialism and migration, we would be especially interested in panels or papers concerning:


  • Attempts to rethink Marxist theories on the relationship between capitalism and racism
  • Anti-racist engagements with the ‘classics’ of the Marxist tradition
  • Recovering the anti-racist legacy of the Marxist tradition 
  • Marxist engagement with anti-racist work outside of the Marxist tradition
  • Intersectionality
  • Afro-Pessimism and anti-black racism theory
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Black and Third World feminisms
  • Anti-racist accounts of the Russian Revolution: particularly its relationship to anti-colonial uprisings in ‘the East’
  • Historical analyses of anti-racist (and anti-imperialist) movements and their relationship to the Marxist tradition
  • Marxist analyses of indigeneity and indigenous movements
  • Analyses of contemporary and historical racist practices