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Digital Subscriptions > Boston Review > Winter 2017 > Introduction

Introduction

CEDRIC J. ROBINSON’S PASSING this summer at the age of seventy-five went virtually unnoticed in the media. Professor emeritus of political science and black studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Robinson was one of the most original political theorists of his generation, yet no major U.S. newspaper devoted a single paragraph to his memory. Although he deliberately avoided the pitfalls of intellectual celebrity, his influence was greater than perhaps he may have realized. Today’s insurgent black movements against state violence and mass incarceration call for an end to “racial capitalism” and see their work as part of a “black radical tradition”—terms associated with Robinson’s work.

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About Boston Review

Walter Johnson, Harvard historian and author of the acclaimed River of Dark Dreams, urges us to embrace a vision of justice attentive to the history of slavery—not through the lens of human rights, but instead through an honest accounting of how slavery was the foundation of capitalism, a legacy that continues to afflict people of color and the poor. Inspired by Cedric J. Robinson’s work on racial capitalism, as well as Black Lives Matter and its forebears—including the black radical tradition, the Black Panthers, South African anti-apartheid struggles, and organized labor—contributors to this volume offer a critical handbook to racial justice in the age of Trump.