ICAS:MP Special Lecture by Raka Ray (University of California, Berkeley)
Resentment and Revenge: Internal Colonialism, the Decline of Fordism and the Trump Vote
Chair and Discussant: Ravi Vasudevan (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi)
2 December 2019
Venue: CSDS, Seminar Room, 4:30 pm – 7 pm
Abstract: The question of why the working class, and the white working class in particular voted for Trump has obsessed liberals in the US. The Washington Post asks, “Why are so many white men so angry?” How do we understand the lurch to the right in the United States, and the anger of certain segments of the population? Is it due to neoliberalism and its discontents? The triumph of nationalism? In this talk I argue that in order to understand the Trump phenomenon we must look to the historical practices of the US state – practices of internal colonialism which propped up both whiteness and masculinity on the one hand, and which deeply exploited certain states on the other. The combination of these factors has created a perverse politics — a right-wing political formation based on the politics of resentment, or more darkly, on what political theorist Wendy Brown has called, a politics of revenge.
Raka Ray has a Bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College (1985), and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1993). She is a Professor of Sociology and South and Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the former Chair of the Institute of South Asia Studies (2003-2012) and the Department of Sociology (2012-2015), and the incoming Dean of the Social Sciences.
Her areas of specialization are gender and feminist theory, globalization, inequality, emerging middle classes, social movements, and postcolonial sociology. Publications include Fields of Protest: Women’s Movements in India (University of Minnesota, 1999; and in India, Kali for Women, 2000), Social Movements in India: Poverty, Power, and Politics, co-edited with Mary Katzenstein (Rowman and Littlefeld, 2005), Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity and Class in India with Seemin Qayum (Stanford 2009), The Handbook of Gender (OUP, India 2011), Both Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes, co-edited with Amita Baviskar (Routledge, 2011), The Social Life of Gender (Sage 2017) co-edited with Jennifer Carlson and Abigail Andrews, and many articles. Her current project explores the historic relationship between masculinity and capitalism, and the transformations in gender wrought by the decline of traditional fields of work for men.
Ravi Vasudevan works at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, where he co-directs Sarai, the Centre’s media and urban research programme. He is guest faculty in Film Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
His publications include The Melodramatic Public: Film Form and Spectatorship in Indian Cinema (Permanent Black, 2010, 2016) and edited volumes Making Meaning in Indian Cinema (OUP, 2000), Sarai Reader 02: the Cities of Everyday Life (2002), Sarai Reader 03: Shaping Technologies (2003), and Documentary Now (Marg special issue, 2018). He is the co-founder/editor of the journal Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies.
He is currently working on non-fiction film infrastructures, the film archives and questions of historiography; post-cinema media artefacts and political imaginaries; contemporary stardom and political discourse; and the dispersed urban imaginaries of contemporary cinema.