How are struggles against anti-black racism in the United States connected to a longer history of global movements against racial capitalism? This event features two distinguished scholars who will discuss the stakes of transnational solidarity politics for racial and decolonial liberation in Latin America and across Asia and the Pacific. Their talks highlight the origins and the need to internationalize the fight against racism in the context of Cold War militarism and US empire-building abroad as well as grassroots struggles for racial justice at home. They also highlight the rich political traditions and histories of radical Black artists and intellectuals in engaging with and advancing emancipatory movements against racial capitalism around the world.
Christine Hong (Associate Professor, UC-Santa Cruz)
“Gulag” North Korea?: Black Antifascist Critique of U.S. “Police Action” in Korea
In the post-9/11 era, no image has gone further in cementing North Korea’s perceived illegitimacy than the gulag (gwalliso). Yet the moorings of North Korea’s image as an unparalleled, post-Cold War police state require critical contextualization against the early Cold War U.S. “police action” that placed North Korea in the U.S. war machine’s crosshairs. This talk reaches back to the mid-twentieth century when the United States emerged as a global police power in order to excavate an antifascist analytic. By delving into the archives of the Civil Rights Congress, a black antifascist organization that presented an antilynching petition to the UN in 1951, I examine linkages between the “policeman’s bullet” in the United States and the U.S. “police action” in Korea.
Christine Hong (PhD, UC Berkeley, English department) is an Associate Professor in the Literature Department and the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program at UC Santa Cruz and specializes in transnational Asian American, Korean diaspora, U.S. war and empire, and comparative ethnic studies. She recently published A Violent Peace: Race, US Militarism and the Cultures of Democratization in Cold War Asia and the Pacific (Stanford UP, 2020). She is a board member of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association, an executive board member of the Korea Policy Institute, a coordinating committee member of the National Campaign to End the Korean War, and a member of the Working Group on Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific.
Anne Garland Mahler (Associate Professor, UVA)
Racial Capitalism and Solidarity Movements from the Americas to the Globe
This talk frames our current moment of solidarity politics—facilitated by innovations in information and communication technologies––through revisiting two interconnected histories of political internationalisms in the twentieth century: the All-American Anti-Imperialist League, based in Mexico City in the 1920s and 30s, and the Tricontinental, headquartered in Havana beginning in the 1960s. Both movements intended to bridge a global anti-capitalist struggle with racial justice activism but did so through distinct discourses and aesthetics. Mahler considers how the political networks surrounding the All-American Anti-Imperialist League theorized a transnational form of racial policing as well as intersections between anti-Blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment in the American hemisphere. This discourse was later revived in the Tricontinental movement through its efforts to build a transracial political movement that would foreground Black struggles. Ultimately, through looking back at the contributions and shortcomings of these understudied histories, this talk addresses the insights they offer to the struggle against racial capitalism today.
Anne Garland Mahler is an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia and author of From the Tricontinental to the Global South: Race, Radicalism, and Transnational Solidarity (Duke, 2018). Mahler's research examines the histories and artistic production of global radicalism with a focus on transnational solidarity movements in the Americas. She is the creator and director of the digital publication, Global South Studies, co-coordinator of the “Internationalism” project within the Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory, and co-editor of the book The Comintern and the Global South (forthcoming with Routledge UP). Her monograph in progress, South-South Solidarities: Racial Capitalism and Political Community from the Americas to the Globe, is supported by a 2020-21 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.
Moderator: Katsuya Hirano, Associate Professor, History
Katsuya Hirano is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of History at UCLA. He is the author of The Politics of Dialogic Imagination: Power and Popular Culture in Early Modern Japan, (Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 2013). His current book project examines the intersection of capitalism and racism in the making of modern Japanese imperial nation and its first colony. Prof. Hirano is also co-editing a translation volume with Professor Gavin Walker, entitled The Archive of Revolution: Marxist Historiography in Modern Japan.
Main organizers: UCLA Program on Caribbean Studies and Center for Korean Studies
Co-sponsors: Asian American Studies Center, African Studies Center, Department of Asian American Studies, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies
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