UBC student organizes talks discussing modern capitalism

Albina Gibadullina, a fifth-year student at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, has organized a series of roundtable talks discussing the “face of modern capitalism.” With one talk that took place in late October and two more planned, it is unknown exactly how many discussions will happen as part of the series.

“[I wanted to create an] alternative discourse space for students and scholars to engage in critical discussions about the development of Western capitalism, and the contemporary social and economic issues facing us,” said Gibadullina.

“[I] always felt that we were not having those conversations about ethics, about social justice and we’re getting a very homogeneous understanding of how the world operates,” she said. 

With the goal of creating a place for dialogue on ethics and social justice for Sauder students, Gibadullina organized the first roundtable discussion, which took place at the end of October.

The series’ first edition was centred around “Gender and Race in a Capitalist Society.” Guest speakers included professors from Sauder, but also from the faculty of gender, race, sexuality and social justice (GRSJ), and the faculties of sociology and geography.

“[The talk focused on] issues of racial and gender oppression that exist in society, and how capitalism relates to gender and racial oppression,” said Gibadullina.

Questions included “in which ways do systemic racism and sexism continue to exist in the workplace? What are the misconceptions behind reverse oppression?” and “do capitalist institutions appropriate feminism and anti-racism in name only through embracing corporate diversity as a PR tactic?” and “will electing Hillary Clinton be a feminist victory?” were asked and discussed.

“I wanted to bring ... diversity into the building that I’m in,” said Gibadullina.

David Silver — a professor at Sauder School of Business who supports Gibadullina through the Sauder Ethics Initiative that he runs — added that these talks are meant to make listeners “think about capitalism, think about it in the business school where it matters and the question of how we can do it better.”

The next talk will be on November 23 and will feature another seven guest speakers, including faculty from UBC and SFU.

Separate from the first talk, this one will focus on the Vancouver housing crisis and will be split into two parts, with the second part scheduled for January and featuring guest speakers from the community, rather than purely from academia.

The housing crisis talk will discuss whether affordable housing should be a human right for residents, as well as ongoing disputes in regards to unceded land and how the housing crisis has affected the Indigenous population.  

The roundtable discussions are taking place at Sauder, but Gibadullina made it clear that the event is open to students and staff members of all faculties, noting that the topic affects the entire Vancouver population.