Michael Ralph on “Forensics of Capital” with Michael C. Dawson | May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016
6:00PM - 7:30PM
CSRPC, 5733 S University Ave

About the text: As one of Africa's few democracies, Senegal has long been thought of as a leader of moral, political, and economic development on the continent. We tend to assume that any such nation has achieved favorable international standing due to its own merits. In Forensics of Capital, Michael Ralph upends this kind of conventional thinking, showing how Senegal's diplomatic standing was strategically forged in the colonial and postcolonial eras at key periods of its history and is today entirely contingent on the consensus of wealthy and influential nations and international lending agencies.
Ralph examines Senegal's crucial and pragmatic decisions related to its development and how they garnered international favor, decisions such as its opposition to Soviet involvement in African liberationdespite itself being a socialist stateor its support for the US-led war on terrordespite its population being predominately Muslim. He shows how such actions have given Senegal an inflated political and economic position and status as a highly credit-worthy nation even as its domestic economy has faltered. Exploring these and many other aspects of Senegal's political economy and its interface with the international community, Ralph demonstrates that the international reputation of any nation, not just Senegal, is based on deep structural biases.
About Michael Ralph: Michael Ralph is Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. He is also Director of the Metropolitan Studies program. Ralph's research is concerned with citizenship and sovereignty, as well as economic and political transformation in the Atlantic world, especially Senegal, west Africa, and the US South. Ralph is the author of the University of Chicago Press book, Forensics of Capital. He has published in Disability Studies Quarterly, Souls, Social Text, Public Culture, South Atlantic Quarterly, the Journal of the History of Sport, and Transforming Anthropology. Michael serves on the editorial boards of Sport in Society and Disability Studies Quarterly. He is a member of the Social Text Editorial Collective and the Souls Editorial Working Group. Michael is Editor-in-Chief of Transforming Anthropology, the flagship journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists.
About Michael Dawson: Michael C. Dawson is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College, and the director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. Dawson is one of the nation's leading experts on race and politics and a principal investigator on several important studies of black politics. From 2000-04 Dawson and Lawrence Bobo conducted six public opinion studies on the racial divide in the United States, creating the richest data on this issue that exists. His research interests have included the development of quantitative models of African American political behavior and public opinion, the political effects of urban poverty and African American political ideology. Most recently he is the author of Not in Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics, which looks at political opinions among blacks in the last decade and contrasts them with white attitudes. His other books include Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary African-American Political Ideologies and Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics.
Presented in partnership with The Seminary Co-op Bookstores.
This event is wheelchair accessible. Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact CSRPC for assistance at 773.702.8063 or csrpc@uchicago.edu.