Racing the International | 2016-17

At the first Pan-African Congress in 1900 and then again in his seminal 1903 Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B Du Bois proclaimed, “The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.” In recent years, drawing inspiration from Du Bois and others, international lawyers, historians and political scientists have explored the multiple dimensions—legal, political, economic and cultural—of the global color line and attended to the transnational political movements that have demanded racial equality. Over the course of five conversations, this series will (1) examine how ideologies of race and racial difference were conceived and contested in different historical and political contexts; (2) investigate the ways in which global formations such as international law and global capitalism intersected and interacted with these ideologies and (3) highlight how the international stage has provided opportunities and alternative tools in local and global fights for racial justice.


Nov 2, 2016  |  Racing International Law
Critical histories of international law and international relations have recently explored the centrality of race as a category of classification and exclusion as these field developed in the late nineteenth century. This panel explores how race is conceived by and through international law.

James Gathii, Loyola University-Chicago 

Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia         

Teemu Ruskola, Emory University    


Jan 18, 2017  |  From Bandung to Durban: Social Movements at the Threshold of the Global Color Line
From the 1955 Afro-Asia meeting in Bandung to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, transnational political actors has outlined a critique of the global color line and established racial equality as an international demand. This panel examines movements for racial justice and equality in the Americas, exploring how political actors makes use of international and transnational tools.

Prudence Browne, University of Illinois-Chicago

Justin Hansford, St. Louis University Law School

Tianna Paschel, University of California-Berkeley


Mar 1, 2017  |  Tracing a Black Feminist International
Despite the growing scholarship on black and subaltern internationalisms, there remains a stubborn gendering of internationalist politics. W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey and C.L.R. James are always identified with this tradition, while Claudia Jones, Pauli Murray, Merze Tate, Eslanda Robeson and others are often marginalized and forgotten. This panel takes up the question of internationalism from the perspective of Black women’s intellectual and political history as well as from a black and third world feminist theoretical lens.

Annette Joseph-Gabriel, University of Arizona

Erik S. McDuffie, University of Illinois-Chicago

Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois-Chicago


Apr 12, 2017  |  Globalizing Racial Capitalism
Recent economic histories have returned to question of transatlantic slavery’s constitutive role in the origins of capitalism and contributed to a renewed interest in the political economy of race. Focusing on the turn of the twentieth century and contemporary developments, this panel examines the intersections of racialization and financialization.

Peter Hudson, University of California-Los Angeles

Kimberly Kay Hoang, University of Chicago

John Robinson, Washington University in St. Louis


May 3, 2017  |  American Empire
While the United States has long represented itself as an anti-imperial nation, its origins as an expanding settler colony, its forays into colonial rule abroad and its contemporary position as the hegemonic global power index the contours of an American empire. This panel will explore the relationship between domestic racial formations and imperialism abroad. 

Daniel Immerwahr, Northwestern University

Jeanne Morefield, Whitman College

Aziz Rana, Cornell Law School


This venue is physically accessible and has a gender-neutral restroom. Please contact the CSRPC at 773.702.8063 with any questions or accommodation requests.

This series is organized by Professor Adom Getachew (Political Science) in partnership with the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, with support from the Social Sciences Division, the Harris School for Public Policy, the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, the Theory & Models Group, and the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT) at the University of Chicago.

Image Credit: Yinka Shonibare MBE, "Scramble for Africa," detail, 2003 (14 life-size fiberglass mannequins, 14 chairs, table, and Dutch wax printed cotton, overall 52 x 192 1/10 x 110 1/5 inches).  As part of the "Who Knows Tomorrow" exhibition; 4 June - 26 Sept. 2010, Berlin. A project of the National Gallery - National Museums in Berlin.