Even in the wake of the global movements toward decolonization and civil rights, at a moment when many politicians and legislators have declared the dawn of a “colorblind” and “multicultural” era, racial inequality and the neocolonialism remain defining features of the contemporary world. Today’s most powerful engines of global economic integration – multinational corporations, transnational financial institutions, and trade alliances – pursue a multiplicity of agendas that involve discrimination, exploitation, displacement, and expropriation on a grand scale. At the same time, the transnational trade in racial ideologies, political practices, and institutional forms has helped to spawn inequities in a variety of realms including job and housing markets, welfare and educational organizations, legal and criminal justice systems, immigration policies, the state management of indigenous peoples, and environmental regulations. Yet, despite these realities, mainstream discussions of the global have tended to overlook questions of racial formation, imperialism, and migration.
Races, Empires, and Diasporas (RED) endeavors to intervene in and help reshape this conversation. It also seeks to revive and expand the scholarly community first forged by the former Empires and Diasporas Research Workshop organized in 2008. Much like the original group, RED provides a vibrant forum for UB faculty and graduate students to discuss their own ongoing research, along with recent and “classic” academic work, in two intersecting and overlapping fields of inquiry: 1) imperial and colonial history, policy, and practice; and 2) the global migrations of people of color and their attendant transnational political, cultural, and social movements.
RED’s approach is interdisciplinary and comparative. We examine research that cuts across history, anthropology, sociology, political science, literature, legal studies, and cultural studies while also considering approaches that attempt to bridge national and regional geographies. Our main focus is on the status and role of people of color in the Global North and Global South in discussions of race, empire, and diaspora.