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Reconfiguring Racial Capitalism: South Africa in the Chinese Century

When: Thursday, 22 February 2024
WiSER Seminar room, 6th Floor Richard Ward Building or use the registration link for the zoom session
Start time:13:00

Sarah Nuttall  


Registration Link

WiSER invites you to a hybrid book discussion on Reconfiguring Racial Capitalism: South Africa in the Chinese Century

Since the turn of the millennium, the return of the People’s Republic of China to the African continent has been framed as a neocolonial scramble or revival of south-south cooperation. An ethnography of Chinese capitalist projects in Johannesburg, Reconfiguring Racial Capitalism: South Africa in the Chinese Century recasts these relations of power as racial capitalism in a global moment of Chinese ascendance. The book draws on historical analysis and ethnographic research sited at a Chinese wholesale mall along Johannesburg’s old gold mining belt to offer a palimpsestic method for reading the colonial present. It argues that Chinese migrants act within global structures of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, capitalism, and colonialism that they did not create but perpetuate. The incorporation of Chinese from margins to center expands and fortifies racial capitalism and empire while urging a deprovincialization of critical terms based in Euro-American contexts. The book offers an ethnographic analysis of “Chinese capitalism” as racial capitalism, while also engaging South African theorizations of racial capitalism. A study of Chinese racial formations, it explores the emergence of racial and imperial forms “after whiteness.”

Mingwei Huang is an assistant professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH and former research affiliate with the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at Wits. Her first book Reconfiguring Racial Capitalism: South Africa in the Chinese Century, is coming out with Duke University Press in October 2024. She has published in Scholar & Feminist Online, Radical History Review, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Public Culture, Verge, and Made In China, as well as edited volumes Anxious Joburg: Space, Affect, and Experience in a Global South City (Wits University Press/NYU Press, 2020) and New World Orderings: China and the Global South (Duke University Press, 2022).

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