Race, Nation, Class

Race, Nation, Class
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Berlin, Germany
March 15-17, 2018

The groundbreaking study Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities appeared in France in 1988, written by Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein according to dialogical principles. The timeliness of the question of how race is fundamentally entangled with the categories class and nation that was examined in this book has continued uninterrupted to this day. The three-day conference Race, Nation, Class at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) takes up this thread. Researchers and theorists from a wide variety of disciplinary, language, and local contexts will discuss and analyze the connectedness of the three categories, along with the categories of gender and religion, within the context of contemporary developments.

The event renegotiates the question of what a “practice of theory” can mean today. How can the intersection of theory and practice as an act of sociopolitical negotiation be made fruitful again? The dialogical approach of the theoretical and analytical debate in the book also offers some points of connection for the event. The four parts of Race, Nation, Class—“Universal Racism,” “The Historical Nation,” “Classes: Polarization and Overdetermination,” and “Displacements of Social Conflict?”—will structure the event. Each part takes on current questions related to the core topics of the book, consolidating them in the context of today’s economic cycles.

The “practice-of-theory” approach will be reinforced and expanded by including the book’s different contexts of reception. Race, Nation, Class has been translated into ten languages—English, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. What kinds of discussion did the book and its themes raise in the different local contexts? What insights did it facilitate? What politics did it inspire? What central questions that need to be posed (again) today arise from the book’s reception? How do we pose them anew? To answer these questions, the project will include investigations of the book’s reception in Algeria, Argentina, India, the former Yugoslavia, South Africa, and Turkey, and other regions of the world.  Documentation of workshops, discussions, and research conducted in each of these locations will be presented on the occasion of the event at HKW in March 2018.

For more information, please contact Anujah Fernando at Manuela Bojadzijev at
Anujah.Fernando@hkw.de.