The Contested Logistics of Racial Capitalism: How Global Commodity Chains Transformed Southern California’s Spatial Politics

Colloquium | April 19 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 575 McCone Hall

 Juan De Lara, Assistant Professor in American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

 Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Center for Ethnographic Research, Department of Geography, Department of Ethnic Studies, Center for Race and Gender, Division of Equity and Inclusion, Center for Latino Policy Research

The subprime crash of 2008 revealed a fragile, unjust, and unsustainable economy built on retail consumption, low-wage jobs, and fictitious capital. Economic crisis, global commodity chains and finance capital transformed Southern California just as Latinxs and immigrants were turning California into a majority-nonwhite state. In Inland Shift, Juan D. De Lara uses the growth of Southern California’s logistics economy, which controls the movement of goods, to examine how modern capitalism was shaped by and helped to transform the region’s geographies of race and class. The book uses logistics and commodity chains to unpack the black box of globalization by showing how the scientific management of bodies, space, and time produced new labor regimes that facilitated a more complex and extended system of global production, distribution, and consumption. While logistics provided a roadmap for capital and the state to transform Southern California, it also created pockets of resistance among labor, community, and environmental groups who argued that commodity distribution exposed them to economic and ecological precarity.

Sponsored by the ISSI's Graduate Fellows Program, UC Berkeley

 issi@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0813