Racial Capitalism: Lecture by Owen Toews

September 19, 2019 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
John A. Russell Building
84 Curry Place, Fort Garry Campus
University of Manitoba
Erin Rawluk
(204) 474-6995

Owen Toews, author of Stolen City: Racial capitalism and the making of Winnipeg, will be coming to speak at noon on September 19, 2019, in CentreSpace (Russell Building, Fort Garry campus, University of Manitoba). He will be speaking about his book, which examines past and present planning in Winnipeg. Stolen City looks at the history of Winnipeg since its start as the Metis city of Red River, and considers its development through two perspectives: the grassroots and Indigenous vision for the city, which is based in community development and anti-colonial goals, and the vision of the ‘dominant bloc’, which emphasizes capitalist development and the dispossession of Indigenous people from the area. Given the current tensions in the downtown, with the potential sale of Portage Place, the securitization of Millennium Library and the ongoing pressures of gentrification, this book is a timely and essential read for all Winnipeggers.

Stolen City reveals how settler colonialism, as a mode of racial capitalism, has made and remade Winnipeg over the past 150 years, tracing the emergence of a ruling alliance that has installed successive development visions to guarantee its hold on regional wealth and power. Drawing on a rich local tradition of grassroots counter-planning, Stolen City uncovers the persistence of revolutionary visions for the city and the concrete ways that oppression is shaped by resistance. It gives particular attention to an ascendant post-industrial vision for Winnipeg’s city centre that has renewed colonial ‘legacies’ of dispossession and racism over the past forty years. In doing so, it moves beyond the common tendency to break apart histories of conquest from studies of urban history or present-day urban dynamics.

Owen Toews is a freelance researcher, writer, and teacher in Winnipeg. He received his PhD in geography from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center and has worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta and as an instructor at the University of Manitoba Department of Environment and Geography, Brooklyn College Honors Program, and the Hunter College Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. He is a founding member of the DIY museum collective Winnipeg Arcades Project, a member of the abolitionist prisoner solidarity group Bar None, and acquisitions editor for ARP Books’ Semaphore series. Born and raised in Winnipeg, he is descended from Russian Mennonites.