'Interventions in Social Reproduction: Labor, Social Justice, and the Value of Human Life' Lecture Series

These events are funded by The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy and co-sponsored by the UB Departments of Africana and American Studies, English, Philosophy, Arts Management, and History.


"Social Reproduction from Majority World Perspectives"

Yige Dong, Alessandra Mezzadri, & Gabriella Nassif

Photo is a collage showing three people, looking at the camera.

(From left to right: Yige Dong, Alessandra Mezzadri, and Gabriella Nassif)

Thursday, April 20, 2023
509 O'Brian Hall & via Zoom
3:30 - 5:00pm (EDT)
Free and open to the public.

“61% of the entire planet is laboring informally. And what characterizes informal employment is a blurred divide between the productive and the reproductive.”

Alessandra Mezzadri, GLUNetwork Interview (8/10/2022)

Contemporary social reproduction debates are primarily focused upon the “crisis of care” in high income countries. Less attention has been paid to social reproduction in post-colonial and post-socialist contexts both theoretically and empirically. The “Social Reproduction from Majority World Perspectives” panel highlights how work is experienced as the blurring of the productive and the reproductive for the vast majority of workers in the global economy. From sweatshop workers in India and women factory workers of iPhones in China to migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, this panel will address the links between exploitation and social reproduction from a global and intersectional lens.


Alessandra Mezzadri, Reader, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, a leading scholar on social reproduction in the majority world, and the author of The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation, and Garments Made in India (CUP, 2017).

Yige Dong, Assistant Professor in Sociology and Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, who will share work from her book-in-progress which examines the century-long transformation of women’s work and caring labor in China as the country has transitioned from a communist revolutionary state to a capitalist authoritarian regime.

Gabriella Nassif, doctoral candidate in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, examines how racism and economic crisis combine to subject migrant domestic workers to extraordinary harm and precarity in Lebanon, and their strategies of resistance and survival.

Moderator: Marion Werner, Associate Professor of Geography, University at Buffalo.

"Social Reproduction and the Crisis of Housing in Buffalo"

India Walton, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, & Rahwa Ghirmatzion

Photo is a collage showing three Black women, looking at the camera.

(From left to right: India Walton, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Rahwa Ghirmatzion)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
CFA Screening Room & via Zoom
4:00 - 5:30pm (EDT)
Free and open to the public.

Free parking is available in Baird A and Baird B lots, as well as in front of the CFA.

"American life has been suddenly and dramatically upended, and, when things are turned upside down, the bottom is brought to the surface and exposed to the light."

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker (3/30/2020)

The “Social Reproduction and the Crisis of Housing in Buffalo” panel aims to bring social reproduction theory home to Buffalo in terms of the struggle for affordable housing. As Dr. Taylor notes above, social crisis has a way of exposing the deeply embedded injustices within a society and as the recent litany of crises demonstrates—from COVID-19 to the white supremacist massacre at Tops in Buffalo's East Side—a host of related concerns about safety, food insecurity, and access to medical care have come to the fore. The panel will address such questions as:

  • What are the biggest challenges facing Buffalonians today and how is Buffalo a microcosm of similar challenges nationally? 
  • What are the local social movements working toward housing justice and how do they connect with statewide and national movements?  
  • How is housing a feminist issue? How is housing connected to reproductive justice movements?


Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Leon Forrest Professor of African-American Studies at Northwestern University (and former UB undergraduate), 2021 MacArthur Fellow, and author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (2019), a semi-finalist for a National Book Award and a 2020 finalist for Pulitzer Prize.

India Walton, 2023 Buffalo Common Council (Masten District) Candidate, Director, Roots Action Buffalo/Roots Action Civic Engagement, former Executive Director of Fruit Belt Community Land Trust and 2021 Democratic candidate for Mayor of Buffalo, New York, who ran with a housing advocacy platform plank.

Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Former Executive Director of Buffalo’s People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo), a West Side activist and housing advocacy organization.

Moderator: Carrie Tirado Bramen, Director of the UB Gender Institute and Professor of English.


Premilla Nadasen

Woman wearing reactangular glasses, with grey hair, wearing a black top and smiling at the camera.

Hybrid Event
Thursday, October 27, 2022
509 O'Brian Hall
3:30PM (EDT)

Recording available upon request by contacting ub-irewg@buffalo.edu.

Premilla Nadasen is a Professor of History at Barnard College, Columbia University. Nadasen is the author of four books, most recently Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement, which is a new classic of history-from-below that reconstructs the work of mainly Black women domestic workers in the post-war period. Nadasen is the winner of the first Ann Snitow Prize for writers who combine intellectual pursuits with feminist and social justice activism. Her keynote will be based on her forthcoming book on social reproduction with Haymarket Press.

Book cover of "Household Workers Unite" by Premilla Nadase. A woman standing and holding red playcard and both hand and also holding a black bag in her left hand.

About the Book:

Telling the stories of African American domestic workers, Household Workers Unite,  resurrects a little-known history of domestic worker activism in the 1960s and 1970s, offering new perspectives on race, labor, feminism, and organizing.
In this groundbreaking history of African American domestic-worker organizing, scholar and activist Premilla Nadasen shatters countless myths and misconceptions about an historically misunderstood workforce. Resurrecting a little-known history of domestic-worker activism from the 1950s to the 1970s, Nadasen shows how these women were a far cry from the stereotyped passive and powerless victims; they were innovative labor organizers who tirelessly organized on buses and streets across the United States to bring dignity and legal recognition to their occupation.



Silvia Federici

A woman with short hair wearing a black shirt looking at the camera.

Hybrid Event
Thursday, September 22, 2022
509 O'Brian Hall
3:30 - 5:00 pm (EDT)

Recording available here.

Silvia Federici is one of the key figures among the group of feminists that spurred the new radical theorizing of social reproduction in the 1970s. In her keynote address, Federici will discuss the enduring relevance of social reproduction and how the theorizing of contradictions in this terrain are necessary for social movements dedicated to reorganizing everyday life and creating non-exploitative social relations.

Book cover of Patiarchy of the wage by Silvia Federici.

About the Book:
At a time when we are witnessing a worldwide expansion of capitalist relations, a feminist rethinking of Marx’s work is vitally important. In Patriarchy of the Wage, Silvia Federici, bestselling author and the most important Marxist feminist of our era, asks why Marx's crucial analysis of the exploitation of human labor was blind to women’s work and struggle on the terrain of social reproduction. Why was Marx unable to anticipate the profound transformations in the proletarian family that took place at the turn of the nineteenth century creating a new patriarchal regime? Patriarchy of the Wage does more than just redefine classical Marxism. It is an urgent call for a new kind of radical politics.

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