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Thursday, December 5 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
KEYNOTE: Beverley Mullings

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Caliban, Social Reproduction and Our Future Yet to Come

What can historical and contemporary labour geographies from the Caribbean tell us about social reproduction in a world of automation, free market fundamentalism and climate change? I argue in this paper that juxtaposing 18th century Caribbean labour geographies, with the current moment where free-market fundamentalisms, labour eradicating technologies and environmental disasters are producing of new categories of disposable and de-humanized labour, offers ways of thinking about reproduction within capitalist systems that overcome the traditional separation of social reproduction from economic production. I begin this paper with Caliban – the not-quite-human character in Shakespeare’s Tempest, who symbolized not only the condition of the oppressed Indigenous and enslaved Africans in capitalism’s early formation, but also, the spirit of refusal to be placed outside modernity, in order to recover the practices through which Caribbean racialized populations have forged lives and livelihoods within landscapes of restricted possibilities within capitalism. Set in the context of the increasing number of people living in varying states of abandonment and premature death where fewer people will be able to maintain themselves as social, emotional, and intellectual beings on a daily and intergenerational basis, this paper offers a number of provocations and ruminations that aim to: 1) unsettle the theoretical separation of social reproduction from economic production 2) introduce insights into labour geographies beyond the worlds of formal organized labour and the formal economy itself 3) situate the Caribbean as a space of theory making that offers lessons for futures yet to come and 4) draw attention to the possibilities and perils of emerging labour geographies that seek to recover the human within the grammar of free markets.

Keynotes
avatar for Professor Beverley Mullings

Professor Beverley Mullings

Queen’s University, Canada