ECCE Speaker Series: What Could It Mean to Say, “Capitalism Causes Sexism and Racism?”
From Cody Pope on February 24th, 2021
Co-Sponsored by UIS New Voices in Racial Justice, Department of Philosophy, Department of Political Science, Diversity Center, & Women’s Center
Political philosopher, ethicist, educator, and activist, Dr. Vanessa Wills will present What Could It Mean to Say, “Capitalism Causes Sexism and Racism?” The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with philosophers of race and gender.
Marxism is often understood as class reductionism that erases the significance of race and gender in themselves. But Wills forcefully argues that an accurate analysis of the relationships amongst capitalism, racism, and sexism reveals the crucial causal role each plays in the existence of the others. Thus, a struggle against one of these is central “to the struggles against any of the others.” As social and political beings in a world in which economic factors shape our race, sex and class, this means that we create the world in which oppression happens. So, we can change the world to make antisexist and antiracist efforts more successful to better pursue a just and equitable society.
Vanessa Wills is a political philosopher, ethicist, educator, and activist working in Washington, DC as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University. In 2019/20, she was the DAAD Visiting Chair in Ethics and Practice at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität’s Munich Center for Ethics. Her areas of specialization are moral, social, and political philosophy, nineteenth century German philosophy, and philosophy of race. Her research is importantly informed by Karl Marx’s work, and focuses on the ways in which economic and social arrangements can inhibit or promote the realization of values such as freedom, equality, and human development. Dr. Wills is on the editorial board of Spectre Journal, a journal of Marxist theory, strategy, and analysis. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of Pittsburgh in 2011, conducted dissertation research at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Princeton University in 2002.
Roxanne Marie Kurtz, UIS Associate Professor of Philosophy will moderate the panel discussion that will follow the presentation.