Swarthmore College

The Aydelotte Foundation at Swarthmore College is pleased to invite you to a conversation with Jodi Melamed and Chandan Reddy. They will discuss their collaborative work for their forthcoming book on “command power,” their descriptive term for how liberalism functions as a racial capitalist world-making praxis, rather than as a philosophy of freedom or just order. Andy Hines will moderate the conversation.

The event will be held on Friday, April 5 at 4:30pm ET in the IC Dome at Swarthmore. It is open to all in the Tri-Co community and to the public. The event will also be streamed online and those who wish to join virtually must register here

The event is part of the Aydelotte Foundation’s project on “Race, Racism, and the Liberal Arts.” This project assembles work on underrepresented histories of how marginalized people, institutions, and ideas have existed outside of, pushed against, or reshaped from within the ideas and institutions of the liberal arts. It also investigates and recounts curricular, epistemological, and institutional genealogies that challenge how or whether the term liberal arts has silenced histories and ways of knowing developed by Black people, indigenous people, and people of color. 


Jodi Melamed is Professor of English and Race, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies at Marquette University. For spring semester 2024 she will serve as the Norman Freehling Professor at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (2011), and her influential essay, “Racial Capitalism,” is among the most cited articles in the journal Critical Ethnic Studies

Chandan Reddy is Associate Professor in the departments of the Comparative History of Ideas and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. His book, Freedom With Violence: Race, Sexuality and the U.S. State (2011) won the Alan Bray Memorial Award for Queer Studies from the MLA as well as Best Book in Cultural Studies from the Asian American Studies Association, both in 2013. He is co-editor (with Jodi A. Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, and Jodi Melamed) of the special issue of Social Text, “Economies of Dispossession: Indigeneity, Race, Capitalism.” 

Melamed and Reddy are co-editors, with Jodi A. Byrd, of “Economies of Dispossession: Indigeneity, Race, Capitalism” a special issue of the journal Social Text. Their current book project, Operationalizing Racial Capitalism: On Liberalism’s Command Powers is under contract with Verso Books. 

Andy Hines is Senior Associate Director of the Aydelotte Foundation at Swarthmore College. He is the author of Outside Literary Studies: Black Criticism and the University (2022) and the editor of University Keywords (forthcoming). 

Melamed Reddy Poster details in text