Racial Capitalism

Bernd Dittrich

What are we researching?

We examine how the capitalist mode of production and structural racism have developed in conjunction. A capitalist economy does not create mere uniformity but produces, and works through, differences between people. These differences are created through, among other things, gender and racialisation. The result is that different people are exploited in different ways.

Why are we doing this research and how?

This research deals with how people are divided by colonial differences, class, race and gender. We follow in the footsteps of renowned scholars such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Cedric Robinson, David Roediger, Robin Kelley and Saidiya Hartman. With our approach, our time's central and urgent public issues can be interpreted in a better perspective. Think of global warming, racism, heteronormativity and sexism and the renewed rise of fascism in parliamentary politics. Specific themes, such as the racialisation of labour in global supply chains or global migration, appear in a new light when are examined using this approach.

How does our research make an impact?

Our research contributes to the formation of publics on pressing issues such as global warming, racism, heteronormativity, and sexism. From the perspective of racial capitalism, capitalism is a form of extraction, exploitation and planetary plunder. If we are to understand and fight issues as global warming or the release of viruses through capital-induced deforestation, we must learn to understand their causes and consequences in a more comprehensive way. We seek to work for a more just world on all major public issues by means of a thorough analysis of contemporary racial capitalism and its histories.

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