The Race and Capitalism project is a multi-institution collaboration that seeks to reinvigorate, strengthen and deepen scholarship on how processes of racialization within the U.S. shaped capitalist society and economy and how capitalism has simultaneously shaped processes of racialization. Central questions include: 1) What is the relationship between racial and economic inequality; 2) How has the relationship between various racial and ethnic groups, the economy and civil society changed over time; and 3) What theoretical approaches to the studies of capitalism and race best explain the empirical reality of 21st century capitalism. 

This project was initiated and conceived at the CSRPC and the Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality and Race (WISIR) at the University of Washington. With the support of the Scholarly Borderlands initiative, the group aims to further develop this project to: 

  • bring together the existing and evolving theoretical analyses of the project with empirical research or rich case studies
  • broaden its existing networks of scholars to continue to build capacity in new scholars who wish to take up these issues
  • secure its longevity by building connections to pedagogy and expanding its impact by sharing research with publications for a broader public, including the SSRC’s Items channel, and with more events such as the project’s existing podcast series

The first Items series, entitled “Reading Racial Conflict,” is available online. The series was curated by Michael Dawson and Megan Ming Francis, and invited scholars to draw on a “classic” or touchstone work in social science, the humanities, or African American studies to use as a lense for understanding current economic, political, and racial injustices.

Further information about the project can be found at the Race and Capitalism website.

Project Chairs


Michael Dawson
John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College, The University of Chicago

Megan Ming Francis
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Washington