Thinking with Black Lives Matter: Towards a Critical Theory of Racial Capitalism

My dissertation combines insights from the Black Lives Matter movement’s (BLM) primary documents with critical political theory, Black Studies, and settler colonial studies to fashion a theory of racial capitalism. In doing so, I intervene in critiques of neoliberalism that separate race and settler colonialism from the workings of capitalism. Specifically, I historicize contemporary neoliberalism within the longer arc of American capitalism’s entanglement with anti-Black domination and Indigenous dispossession, surfacing the qualitatively distinct ways capital extracts value and resources from Black and Indigenous populations. My interdisciplinary project thus reveals how colonial and racial domination are anchored to and productive of American capitalism. In turn, following BLM, I point to the necessity of connecting, rather than separating, anti-racist and egalitarian class politics.