Franco Barchiesi

Associate Professor, Department of African American and African Studies

Professor Barchiesi's current research project is a comparative historical sociology of waged employment in relation to state formation and social conflicts in post-emancipation and newly colonized societies. The project focuses on case studies from Southern Africa, the Caribbean, and the mid-Atlantic United States between the 1880s and the 1920s.  It is specifically interested in the ways in which, under the imperatives of capitalist modernization and "free labor", discourses and practices of racialization coercively defined the productive positions of African and African-descended peoples within the global template of liberal state and civil society formation as projects underpinned by whiteness as a modality of rule. Barchiesi will analyze forms of conflict and negotiation through which black populations contested their subordinate insertion in capitalist labor markets. Specific emphasis will be placed on the "Atlantic" dimension of the circulation of ideas of governance and opposition. The project is aimed at excavating a historical and conceptual genealogy to understand the persistence of discursive and ontological modalities that unequally and often violently position whiteness and blackness in social policies and institutional interventions to the present day.

Recent Publication

(2011), "Precarious Liberation: Workers, the State, and Contested Social Citizenship in Postapartheid South Africa" (Albany: State University of New York Press).

Areas of Expertise
  • South African Labor Movements
  • Work and Citizenship in Post-colonial Africa
  • Wage Labor and State Information in (Post)Colonial modernity
  • History of South Africa
  • African Social Movements
  • African History (colonial and post-colonial)

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614 292-0498
486 University Hall