Capitalism, Racism & Revolt
This interdisciplinary seminar examines theory and artistic productions — including works of literature, film, theater, and visual art — that analyze and critique capitalism, imperialism, racism, colonialism, and neocolonialism. It also examines how people have collectively resisted these forces, and the role of culture in their efforts. The course explores history and culture from an international perspective, giving particular attention to works from the Global South (and from Latin America and the Caribbean, especially) as well as works addressing the history of racialized groups within the Global North. The course will focus on the 20th and 21st centuries, although it will also address earlier histories of capitalism and key theoretical works of the 19th century. We will consider questions such as the following: Why is racism fundamental to the operations of global capitalism? What is the role of culture in imperialist domination and anti-colonial resistance? What are the origins of fascism, and how is it related to colonialism and racism? What is globalization, how has it intensified global inequality, and how has this been addressed in art and literature? What has been the role of expressive culture in liberation movements of the Americas? Why are immigrants targeted for repression, and what can stories about immigrants’ lives teach us about contemporary capitalism, including U.S. imperialism? The course will address key theories and concepts from anticolonial and postcolonial thought, Marxist social and literary theory, critical development studies, world systems analysis, and Latin American & Latinx studies. Active participation in seminar discussions is a requirement of this course.