Decolonising Marx’s Capital Reading Group

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Decolonising Marx’s Capital Reading Group was a Colonial, Postcolonial and Decolonial (CPD) Working Group panel held at the BISA 2018 conference.

Panel details

  • TE08: Thursday 16:45 PM – 18:15 PM  Roundtable
  • Room: Widcombe Room 1st floor
  • Convenor/ Chair: Kerem Nisancioglu, SOAS, University of London
  • Panellists:
    • Lisa Tilley, Queen Mary, University of London
    • Sara Salem, University of Warwick
    • Maia Pal, Oxford Brookes University
    • Nivi Manchanda, Queen Mary, University of London
    • Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS, University of London

This session has an innovative format. It will be an open reading group that invites participants to discuss an excerpt of Karl Marx’s Capital through a ‘decolonial’ lens (references below). This will involve centering coloniality as a set of historical and discursive processes in order to ask whether ‘the colonial’ is intelligible through, consistent with or disruptive of the theoretical and historical markers laid down by Marx. This group will also deploy critical methods and theories developed in the anti-colonial and black radical tradition to re-read Marx: how does the question of ‘race’ (with its attendant articulations and intersections with gender and sexuality) relate to Marx’s notions of class? Does a decolonial answer to this question change how we understand the inner secret of the capitalist mode production? This reading group won’t be exclusively an academic endeavour; in the spirit of both Marxist and decolonial praxis, it will engage with and hopefully inform our understanding of present-day struggles.


Suggested further reading

  • Chakrabarty, Dipesh. ‘Two histories of Capital’. In Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton University Press, 2009.
  • Coulthard, Glen Sean. Red skin, white masks: Rejecting the colonial politics of recognition. University of Minnesota Press, 2014.
  • Davis, Angela Y. Women, race, & class. Vintage, 2011.
  • Federici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch. Autonomedia, 2004.
  • Gidwani, V. K.. The limits to capital: Questions of provenance and politics. Antipode36(3) (2004) 527-542.
  • Jones, Claudia. An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman!. National Women’s Commission, CPUSA, 1949.
  • Moten, Fred. In the break: The aesthetics of the black radical tradition. U of Minnesota Press, 2003.
  • Sanyal, Kalyan. Rethinking capitalist development: Primitive accumulation, governmentality and post-colonial capitalism. Routledge, 2014.
  • Shilliam, Robbie. ‘Decolonising the Manifesto: Communism and the Slave Analogy’ []
  • Singh, N. P. (2016). On Race, Violence, and So-Called Primitive Accumulation. Social Text34(3 128), 27-50.
  • Smallwood, Stephanie E. Saltwater slavery: A middle passage from Africa to American diaspora. (Harvard University Press, 2009).