Hidden in plain sight: coloniality, capitalism and race/ism as far as the eye can see

Olivia Rutazibwa

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    This review essay is a generative reading of four monographs and one special issue to rethink the discipline of IR and its syllabus anticolonially. At the centre of White Innocence by Gloria Wekker, In the Wake. On Blackness and Being, by Christina Sharpe, The Colonial Lives of Property by Brenna Bhandar, Beyond Coloniality by Aaron Kamugisha and the New Political Economy special issue titled Raced Markets edited by Robbie Shilliam and Lisa Tilley are issues of race and racism, neoliberalism and capital and (the afterlives of) colonisation and slavery. This essay deploys a narrative approach of the autobiographical example to write the themes and arguments of the works onto the international everyday, i.c. a period of five months (April-September 2019) and the five places (Toronto, Stellenbosch, (New) England, Ghana and Puerto Rico) in which these works were read. Firstly, the themes of racism, capitalism and coloniality – to varying degrees disavowed and erased in both IR as a discipline and public opinion – appear as persistent, pervasive yet adapting across time, space and situatedness. Secondly, both the autobiographical examples and the works point at the equally omnipresent cracks in the system and invite reflection on anticolonial alternatives (of solidarity). In conclusion, the essay explores how these works could inform reconceptualisation of the IR syllabus, towards a discipline that engages with the world rather than itself, against the colonial status quo.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages21
    JournalMillennium: Journal of International Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020


    • Racism
    • coloniality
    • neoliberalism
    • narrative
    • IR


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