Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Conferences Care, Racial Capitalism, and Liberatory Futures

Care, Racial Capitalism, and Liberatory Futures

This conference will bring together scholars, organizers, and artists to think together about the intersections of social reproduction, racial capitalism, care, the state, and liberatory social change. The conference will draw on the long history of organizing, study, thinking, and praxis forged by feminist activists, organizers, scholars, and artists who have expanded our political analysis to include the dimensions of paid and unpaid domestic, emotional, and reproductive labor as well as those who have taught us about how social reproduction can expand how we understand and build transformative organizing for liberatory futures. At this conference, we will consider the following questions: How can we consider the relationships among social reproduction, racial capitalism, and the state? How have these relationships shifted over time? In considering this question, we want to problematize assumptions about the “care crisis” and map new locations and strategies of radical political possibility. What does care mean in the context of our organizing? How can we radically reimagine a collective, egalitarian, nonhierarchical, anti-capitalist politics of care as the basis for the world that is rooted in visions and praxis of mutuality and non-disposability? What does care offer as method, politics, and praxis to building transformative organizing against the carceral, capitalist, and imperialist state and for liberatory futures? Our intention is to generate a space for critical dialogue, inquiry, and collective learning that will inform organizing and grounded scholarship that advances social justice.



  • 9:50 – 10 a.m. | Welcome by Premilla Nadasen (Co-Director of BCRW and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History, Barnard College)
  • 10 -11:30 a.m. | Social Reproduction, Racial Capitalism, and the State
    • Tithi Bhattacharya (Associate Professor of History and the Director of Global Studies, Purdue University)
    • Diedre Cooper Owens (Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut)
    • Selma James (founder, International Wages for Housework Campaign, founder and member, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network)
    • Gabriel Winant (Assistant Professor of History, University of Chicago)
    • Moderated by Premilla Nadasen (Co-Director, BCRW and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History, Barnard College)
    • Panel description: What is the “care crisis”? In 2023, the World Economic Forum exposed the “fundamental mismatch” between the supply and demand of paid and unpaid care workers and services in the United States, sending a nearly $6 trillion industry to the brink of collapse. However, as activists and Black and Brown communities have long known, this “crisis” is the outcome of historical inequalities only exacerbated by neoliberalism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning by problematizing the concept of a “care crisis”, this panel will examine the relationships among social reproduction, racial capitalism, and the state. Panelists will address capital’s reliance on care work to generate labor power, the role of the welfare state, and profit extraction from care. They will also map new locations and strategies of exploitation and capital accumulation with the decline of an industrial economy and rise of the care economy. Finally, panelists will examine the implications of considering the reproduction of human life as a site of profit.
  • 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Brown bag lunch and workshops
    • Breakout A: Is social work a site of care or carcerality? A workshop with the Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work
      • Vivianne Guevara (Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Work, Columbia University)
      • Michelle Grier (Therapist, Critical Therapy Institute and Director, Center for Wellbeing and Happiness)
      • Joyce McMillan (Executive Director, Just Making a Change for Families)
    • Breakout B: What does the status of childcare in Mississippi teach us about the relationship between state and community? A workshop with the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative
      • Jearlean Osborne (Program Coordinator, Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative)
      • Belinda Thornton (Child Care Director/Social Work Consultant, North Jackson Day Care Center)
    • Breakout C: How have harm reduction initiatives transformed the politics of care?
      • Sterling Johnson (harm reduction and housing activist and Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Temple University)
  • 1 – 1:15 p.m. | Performance by poet Christine Yvette Lewis
  • 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. | The Politics and Praxis of Care
    • Asmaa AbuMezied (Women’s Economic Empowerment Coordinator, Oxfam)
    • Anna Romina Guevarra (Professor of Global Asian Studies, University of Illinois-Chicago)
    • Jina Kim (Assistant Professor of English Language & Literature and of the Study of Women & Gender, Smith College)
    • Paula Rojas (community organizer and midwife, Mama Sana Vibrant Woman)
    • Moderated by Ujju Aggarwal (Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning, The New School)
    • Panel description: Activists, communities, and scholars have long reimagined care outside of racial capitalism as part of a liberatory future rooted in visions of mutuality and non-disposability. What do care and social reproduction offer as method, politics, and praxis for organizing against capitalism and imperialism? How can social movements care for Black and brown, disabled, poor, and queer life in the context of an expanding carceral state, neoliberal capitalist accumulation, and state abandonment? What models of collective care and radical care can we draw on from history?
  • 3 – 4:30 p.m. | Keynote
    • Linda Oalican (co-founder, Damayan Migrant Workers Association) and Riya Ortiz (Executive Director, Damayan Migrant Workers Association) in conversation with Premilla Nadasen (Co-Director of BCRW and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History, Barnard College)

ASL Interpretation will be provided. For additional accessibility needs please email skreitzb@barnard.edu.
This is an in-person event, free and open to all. Please review our COVID safety guidelines. Registration is preferred.

This conference is co-convened with Ujju Aggarwal (Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning at The New School) and Vayne Ong (Ph.D. Student in History, Columbia University), and co-sponsored by the Center for Political Economy at Columbia University.

Image Credit
Damayan Migrant Workers Association


Apr 06 2024


9:30 am - 4:30 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



Barnard College - Diana Event Oval
3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027