Toward a political economy of coloniality, race and Islamophobia

Stream: Panel 6 - Comparative Politics: The International Political Economy of Islamophobia
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


As Lisa Tilley and Robbie Shilliam have argued in their Raced Markets project (2015), the productions and economic functions of race in global capitalism have received little analytical attention within the discipline of International Political Economy (IPE). This race-blindness, I argue, stems from two key shortcomings within IPE and the humanities more generally: first, a general unwillingness to excavate the ways in which slavery and European colonialism have proved crucial to the formation of dynamics of inequality within the contemporary global political economy; second, a concomitant (and somewhat contradictory) ‘post-racialism’ which restricts understandings of race and racism to atrocities of the past, and the aberrant actions of bigoted individuals in the present. Against race-blindness in IPE and beyond, I draw on the works of Patrick Wolfe, Barnor Hesse, and Alana Lentin in advancing a theory of race as performative, productive materiality; an identity which is constructed in the very process of its enactment. I conclude by outlining how this theory may be put to work in the pursuit of analysing the productions and functions of race in global capitalism. In doing so, I remark briefly on some of the ways in which race within Islamophobia - inscribed in the militarised activities of Western powers abroad, and the renovation of surveillance and national security policies at home - functions to reproduce the social relations of global capitalism.


Cameron Smith (Presenter), Macquarie University
Doctoral Candidate, Macquarie University, Sydney.