Charisse Burden-Stelly

What’s Left of African Diaspora Theory?: (Re)Turning to Political Economy and Articulating Culturalism to Economic Realities

The objective of my research is to comprehensively refocus the analytical framework of African Diaspora Studies as a necessary step in examining the “turn” in globalization to new centers of accumulation in the global south. I argue that such a turn has profound implications for the emergence of new understandings of blackness. As such, it is important to bring the theorizing and analysis of the global political economy more centrally into the scholarship of African Diaspora Studies. There is a growing significance of affective ties forged out of Diaspora articulations and their critical significance in an emergent global economy focused on “South-South” relations. I argue that diasporic ties are being harnessed in the service of global capital through forms of governmentality. This is becoming even more significant in the wake of the phenomenal growth occurring in many African economies that is transforming the continent into “the New Asia.” My approach to Diaspora confronts the intellectual and material problems posed by the “cultural turn” in Diaspora Studies. This, I argue, has led to a scotoma in the theorizing of the relationships between statist discourse, the global political economy, and the production of Blackness.