“Where once Black culture could be evoked for its oppositional relationship to the capitalist market, on one hand, and the racial state, on the other, now it has been defanged, denuded of dissident valence, and repurposed for the expansion of markets and the neutralization of progressive Black politics. The noble plea for the incorporation of difference has become the celebratory promotion of Difference, Incorporated while the improved conditions of Black representation (at least in certain visible areas) have had little effect on improving the actual conditions of Black life.
Given these contemporary conditions, we would do well to ask if recourse to culture still provides the necessary critical apparatus for thinking about the paradoxes and “predicaments” of Blackness and of the African Diaspora? Culture, of course, will always be with us in one form or another – it is precisely its malleability and openness that makes it so attractive and analytically productive. Yet if all is culture, is culture all? And can what is arguably the hegemony of culture in African Diaspora studies be displaced in favor of other analytics and approaches?
One way around the apparent hegemony of culture is through the development of what I’m calling a “corporate turn” in African Diaspora studies. The corporate turn could mark a renewed attention to the institutions, individuals, and entities of exchange and exploitation that have forged the structural contexts in which black identity, the conditions of black life and, ultimately, Black culture, have emerged. The corporate turn calls for the reincorporation of political economy and business and economic history with African Diaspora studies and it demands that we take seriously the institutional history of what Cedric Robinson has termed “racial capitalism”: the simultaneous, and intertwined emergence of white supremacy and capitalism in the modern world.”—Dr. Peter James Hudson, “African Diaspora Studies and the Corporate Turn” (via hagereseb)
It’s painfully ironic that the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora is holding their conference on Black Diaspora studies this weekend in the Dominican Republic, just a few weeks after the country ruled nearly 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless.
“Love itself, the subversive gift, is an important public good, and loving is a significant political act, particularly among those stigmatized and marked as unworthy of live and incapable o deep commitment.”—Richard Iton, In Search of the Black Fantastic (2008)