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Eric Hobsbawm Memorial Lecture: Racial Capitalism. What's in a Name? (IN PERSON ATTENDANCE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED)

Venue: Birkbeck Clore Management Centre

This event is fully booked. You can watch the live stream here at 6pm GMT:


Hobsbawm Memorial Lecture, 2022 

Catherine Hall

Racial Capitalism. What’s in a Name? 

‘Racial capitalism’ is a term that is being increasingly used in an effort to capture the organic connections between these two interrelated but different systems that continue to dominate the modern world. This talk will argue for the need for temporal and spatial specificities in trying to untangle what constitutes the workings of ‘racial capitalism’. Taking the example of C18 Jamaica it will explore the relation between the plantation economy, the imperial framework within which it operated, constructions of whiteness and hereditary racial slavery. Where, how, and by whom was wealth created?  Who accumulated it? 

Catherine Hall is Emerita Professor of History and Chair of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery at University College London. Her recent work has focused on the relation between Britain and its empire: Civilising Subjects (2002), Macaulay and Son (2012) and Hall et al, Legacies of British Slave-ownership (2014). Between 2009-2015 she was the Principal Investigator on the ESRC/AHRC projects Legacies of British Slave-ownership which aimed to put slavery back into British history. Her new book will be Making Racial Capitalism: Edward Long’s History of Jamaica.  


This event is free but booking is essential. Please note that this is the registration page for the in-person event. To book a ticket to attend in-person click on the booking link at the top of this page.


The event will also be live streamed. To register to receive a link for the live stream, please visit this page: 


The Eric Hobsbawm Memorial Lecture is organised by Birkbeck’s Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. It is held annually to honour the lasting legacy of one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century. Birkbeck has established the Hobsbawm Scholarship Fund to support the next generation of historians in their pursuit of original research. Please email Charlotte Belson or call 020 7380 3112 if you would like to support the fund.

This event is part of the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology's Discover the Past events series, open to the public and students. To see the full list of events, visit the Discover the Past web page.

The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck has a distinguished tradition as an international centre of excellence. We are the only university department in London to include archaeologists, classicists and historians investigating every period from prehistory to the early twenty-first century. Join us to discover the past and engage with the present across continents and cultures.


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