Michael Dawson and Megan Ming Francis, curators for and contributors to the “Reading Racial Conflict” series, conclude the series with a set of reflections on the ways RRC authors bring the deep lessons from classic works in the political economy of race to bear on the present. They call attention to key themes that cut cross the essays: the persistence of violence visited on and the demonization of African Americans; the place of race in the development of capitalism and class formation; how capitalist development and racism deepen divides between the white and black working classes; class divisions within the black community; and how the intersections of race and capital shape inequalities globally.
Michael C. Dawson
Michael C. Dawson is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Dawson received his doctorate degree from Harvard. He has directed numerous public opinion studies that focus on race and public opinion. His research interests include black political behavior and public opinion, political economy, and black political ideology. More recently he has combined his quantitative work with work in political theory. His first two books, Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics (Princeton University Press, 1995) and Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary African-American Political Ideologies (University of Chicago Press, 2001), won multiple awards. Recent books include Not In Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2011), and Blacks In and Out of the Left (Harvard University Press, 2013). Recently, with Megan Ming Francis, Dawson launched a nationwide effort to study the intersection of race and capitalism. This work includes 2016 articles in Public Culture (with Francis), and Critical Historical Studies. He is the founding and current director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. Dawson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006.
Michael C. Dawson launches the “Reading Racial Conflict” series by reflecting on the contemporary relevance of two major works on the political economy of race and capitalism: James Boggs’s Racism and the Class Struggle and Mario Barrera’s Race and Class in the Southwest. In their analyses of the divide among the white and non-white working classes in the 1960s and ’70s, Dawson sees antecedents of Donald Trump’s rise in the 2016 presidential campaign.