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  • Author: Donna V. Jones, Kevin Bruyneel, William Garcia Medina
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: Stuart Hall, a founding scholar in the Birmingham School of cultural studies and eminent theorist of ethnicity, identity and difference in the African diaspora, as well as a leading analyst of the cultural politics of the Thatcher and post-Thatcher years, delivered the W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University in 1994. In the lectures, published after a nearly quarter-century delay as The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation (2017), Hall advances the argument that race, at least in North Atlantic contexts, operates as a ‘sliding signifier,’ such that, even after the notion of a biological essence to race has been widely discredited, race-thinking nonetheless renews itself by essentializing other characteristics such as cultural difference. Substituting Michel Foucault’s famous power-knowledge dyad with power-knowledge-difference, Hall argues that thinking through the fateful triangle of race, ethnicity and nation shows us how discursive systems attempt to deal with human difference. Part I of the forum critically examines the promise and potential problems of Hall’s work from the context of North America and western Europe in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter and Brexit. Donna Jones suggests that, although the Birmingham School’s core contributions shattered all certainties about class identity, Hall’s Du Bois Lectures may be inadequate to a moment when white racist and ethno-nationalist appeals are ascendant in the USA and Europe and that, therefore, his and Paul Gilroy’s earlier work on race and class deserve our renewed attention. Kevin Bruyneel examines Hall’s work on race in relation to three analytics that foreground racism’s material practices: intersectionality, racial capitalism and settler colonialism. William Garcia in the final contribution asks us to think about the anti-immigrant black nativisms condoned and even encouraged by discourses of African-American identity and by unmarked references to blackness in the US context. In ‘Fateful Triangles in Brazil,’ Part II of Contexto Internacional’s forum on The Fateful Triangle, three scholars work with and against Hall’s arguments from the standpoint of racial politics in Brazil.
  • Topic: International Relations, Race, Capitalism, Ethnicity, Nation-State
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Global Focus