Slavery, Race and Culture [F-21-19]

Presenter: Abye Assefa
Location: Zoom
Classes: 2 Sessions 1.5 hours
Dates: Tue 10:00 AM 10/12, 10/19
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The main objective of this course is to bring to light the centrality of slavery in establishing: (1) the structural ground of the axial (geographical) division of labor and (2) racism as the cultural figuration(s) of the capitalist world economy or the Modern World-System. Contrary to conventional wisdom, which characterizes slavery as an aberration, incompatible with modern civilization and inconsistent with the capitalist ideal of free labor, the course underscores the saliency of slavery in instituting the racialized culture of exploitation as the essence of modernity. Modern slavery is strictly a capitalist institution catalyzing the invention of the social category of race as a natural or cultural phenomenon and endorsing violence and terror as acceptable cultural norms. The personality, community and environment of the slave are important channels shaped by and shaping the contradictory dynamics of the racist universe of historical capitalism. The racist regime of modern slavery is marked, on the one hand, by extremely vicious acts of brutality, violence and greed and, on the other, by a remarkably virtuous display of compassion, perseverance and sacrifice.

Abye Assefa is Associate Professor Of Sociology at SLU. He holds a PhD from SUNY Binghamton with areas of concentration in: long-term/large-scale social-historical change, world-systems analysis, nomadism in the making of the pre-modern ecumene, the political economy, structures of knowledge, and the anti-systemic in the modern world-system of historical capitalism, race and ethnicity.

Special Instructions: You will be emailed a Zoom invite two days before the class starts. Click on the link in the invite to open your Zoom app.

Cap: 100



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