https://bpl.bibliocommons.com/events/63222f2a4cf9ce2f006908b8 Boston Public Library: Commonwealth Salon
700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
History, Lectures & Conferences, Social Good
Philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò will discuss his new book, Elite Capture: How The Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else), which explores the process by which a radical concept can be stripped of its political substance and liberatory potential by becoming the victim of elite capture—deployed by political, social, and economic elites in the service of their own interests.
Following this conversation, which will also include Boston University Assistant Professor Samia Hesni, there will be an audience Q&A, and the program will conclude with an author signing facilitated by Trident Booksellers & Cafe.
To attend, please register on this Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/author-talk-with-olufemi-o-taiwo-on-elite-capture-tickets-419828557517.
At 3:30PM the same day, Olúfẹ́mi will lead a roundtable discussion on organizing for local and global climate justice with Boston-area organizers, activists, and policymakers.
More about the book
“Identity politics” is everywhere, polarizing discourse from the campaign trail to the classroom and amplifying antagonisms in the media, both online and off.
But the compulsively referenced phrase bears little resemblance to the concept as first introduced by the radical Black feminist Combahee River Collective. While the Collective articulated a political viewpoint grounded in their own position as Black lesbians with the explicit aim of building solidarity across lines of difference, identity politics is now frequently weaponized as a means of closing ranks around ever-narrower conceptions of group interests.
But the trouble, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò deftly argues, is not with identity politics itself. Through a substantive engagement with the global Black radical tradition and a critical understanding of racial capitalism, Táíwò identifies the process by which a radical concept can be stripped of its political substance and liberatory potential by becoming the victim of elite capture—deployed by political, social, and economic elites in the service of their own interests.
Táíwò’s crucial intervention both elucidates this complex process and helps us move beyond a binary of “class” vs. “race.” By rejecting elitist identity politics in favor of a constructive politics of radical solidarity, he advances the possibility of organizing across our differences in the urgent struggle for a better world.
In an endorsement, prison abolitionist and prison scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore said, “I was waiting for this book without realizing I was waiting for this book.”
About the author
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He is the author of Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else) and Reconsidering Reparations. His work exploring the intersections of climate justice and colonialism has been featured in The New Yorker, The Nation, Boston Review, Dissent, The Appeal, Slate, Al Jazeera, The New Republic, Aeon, and Foreign Policy. To learn more about the author, please visit his website.
About the moderator
Samia Hesni is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Boston University. Their research is about language and oppression: examining how certain kinds of language introduce and reinforce stereotypes, and how people use implicit speech to challenge power dynamics.
This program is presented in partnership by the Boston Public Library the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library (LMEC). To learn more about LMEC, visit their website.
About the BPL's COVID-19 health and safety protocols: