ABSTRACT W. E. B. Du Bois’s groundbreaking scholarship on race and racial prejudice was inseparable from his lifelong struggle for racial justice, Black liberation, and against social and political oppression. Both in his theoretical and in his historical-political work, Du Bois substantially and critically engaged with the “Jewish question”: with Jewish life, history, and politics, with the experiential perspective of an oppressed minority, and with the fight against prejudice and racial hatred. Throughout in life, and in particular in later years, (...) Du Bois was influenced by Karl Marx’s critical analysis of social and economic life; Marx’s own discussion of the “Jewish question,” concerning the difference between political equality and human emancipation, proved substantial to his argument on civil rights and racial justice. In this article, I argue that Du Bois did not only draw from the Jewish experience and from Marx’s work on the “Jewish question” in his work on African American history and politics, but also that he, in fact, reconsidered the “Jewish question” from an African American perspective, offering his own reading and understanding of the “Jewish question,” thus applying his concept of double consciousness for rethinking it as a question of racial identity and racial consciousness, and as relevant and applicable to Black liberation and the fight against racism. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article argues that Frantz Fanon’s critique of the epistemology of the colonial situation is a complex, pluralized, epistemology of ignorance, where ignorance takes three main forms. Fanon first produces a critique of colonial ideology, in which ignorance is the product of the colonizers’ false justificatory ideology. Fanon unveils how Europeans, through human sciences such as “ethnopsychiatry” and “ethnophilosophy,” deliberately produce ignorance and devaluation of colonized subjects and colonized knowledge for purposes of domination. Second, ignorance is the unintentional result (...) of the partial, situated, standpoint of embodied knowers. Fanon does not intend to substitute a “black truth” to white ideology. He rather insists that while truth is unattainable under colonial conditions, the affective perspective of the oppressed/colonized is a necessary constitutive part of any objective account of the world. Third, by analyzing the “Conducts of confession in North Africa,” characterized by deliberate denial, lies, and opacity as resistance mechanisms, Fanon insists that no objective knowledge is possible in a colonial situation because of the total separation, and impossible epistemic collaboration, of dominant and dominated knowers. An anticolonial politics has to focus on producing the conditions of possibility of knowledge. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In this article I draw upon an analogy between a debate in the critical philosophy of race over the metaphysics of race and a debate in Buddhist philosophy of mind over the metaphysics of selves. I argue that there is a defensible irrealist theory of race, corresponding to the performativist theory of self found in certain Buddhist thinkers.
ABSTRACT This article analyzes the politics of nostalgia’s history as a fatal disease between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, especially as it was applied to slaves in late eighteenth-century Cuba. I trace nostalgia’s medical history beginning with its inauguration in Swiss medicine in 1688, and then describe the contours of its transformation into a military disease primarily affecting white soldiers in France and the United States. Finally, I translate and analyze key elements of Francisco Barrera y Domingo’s work on nostalgia (...) as experienced by slaves in sugar mills in Havana. I show that Barrera uses his analysis of nostalgia and its treatment to describe the slaves’ harrowing conditions and homesickness. Nevertheless, in denying slaves the ability to return home and in failing to propose the abolition of the slave system in the wake of the Haitian Revolution, I argue, Barrera in fact deploys the diagnosis of nostalgia in order to medicalize and pathologize the slaves’ reactions and resistance to their captivity. Thus, despite his sympathy to the slaves, I conclude that for Barrera, nostalgia functions as a tool to better manage the slaves as laborers and as property. (shrink)
This article takes up the idea of language as a home and dwelling, and reconsiders what this might mean in the context of diasporic bilingualism – where as a ‘heritage speaker’ of a minority language, the ‘mother tongue’ may be experienced as both deeply familiar yet also alien or alienating. Drawing on a range of philosophical and literary accounts (Cassin, Arendt, Anzaldúa, Vuong, among others), this article explores how the so-called ‘mother tongue’ is experienced by heritage speakers in an English-dominant (...) world. From navigating one’s being in-between language-worlds, to the experience of language loss and efforts of reconnection, I argue that bilingual dwelling involves many complex layers often overlooked by philosophical accounts of language that do not attend to the lived world of the migrant and racialised outsider. By turning to the example of bilingual parenting, I then examine how such an undertaking, while labour-intensive, offers opportunities to refresh and co-create language-worlds anew. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article addresses the growing literature in critical race studies, which holds that racism is permanent or incurable, and that by adopting this pessimistic view of racism, we can enact improved and healthier racialized lives. I argue that the focus on curing anti-Black racism, and the failure to do so in the civil rights era and its aftermath has left people of all races, to varying degrees, stuck in pessimistic states of racialized anger, resentment, guilt, and shame. These pessimistic (...) states have brought about an additional level of oppression for targets of racialized oppression. I call it “meta-oppression,” and it is the oppression of being oppressed. I argue that this oppression has exacerbated the effects of the social disease of racism, and it has literally affected the physiologies of many African Americans. This article provides a diagnosis of these existential and physiological states of meta-oppression and a clarification of its characteristics. This diagnosis is an initial step in a larger project of formulating and enacting effective treatments for it. I then argue that meta-oppression is a helpful diagnostic tool for clarifying the characteristics and ramifications on Blacks of US systemic racism during the post–civil rights movement period. I aim to establish meta-oppression as an existential and physiological condition that requires attention so as to expand the social imaginations of people of color and to allow us to engage in more systemic joyful affirmations of our racialized lives while still living within racist conditions. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Necropolitical arrangements of bifurcations delineate those ontological antagonisms that code Blackness as ontological lack (as non-position). In this article, I attempt to think about this evacuation of being in terms of the necropolitical’s fleshy excess, as what Alexander Weheliye’s work names “habeus viscus.” In so doing, I explore the implications, for our understanding of the “repressed proximities” of which the necropolitical consists, of arrangements that always-already include entanglements with their fleshy excess. In other words, if the nonposition of the (...) excluded is always positioned within, then living in/against the death-logics of necropolitics is always happening from that “nonposition within.” Hence, a reading of Achille Mbembe’s account of necropolitics must reckon with what Katherine McKittrick names “the creative consequences of the plot and the plantation,” with the implications of the inextricable proximal entanglements between the killing of life and the living that persists, despite. This article focuses on this “living despite.” Through a constellation of thinkers like Katherine McKittrick, Alexander Weheliye, and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (to name a few), it aims to show that there are, perhaps, other futures that are already “now,” shattering what Édouard Glissant refers to as the “stone of time,” shattering (necropolitical) history as destiny. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Across the Mexico-United States borderlands, overlapping white supremacist and Anglo-nationalist movements are building private walls as monuments to Donald Trump. Numerous social justice activists and ecological stewards have warned that these Trumpist border walls present specific and new threats to social and ecological landscapes, particularly along the riparian sections of the borderlands. To slow their building and even topple these walls, justice activists and ecological caretakers are working to fortify networks with similar efforts elsewhere. In an effort to provide (...) analyses useful to such justice endeavors, I employ Achille Mbembe’s concept of necropolitics to situate the borderland activist struggles against the Trumpist walls within a broader context of struggle against the commemoration of racist terror in the US South. Specifically, I use Mbembe’s theorization of necropolitical deathworlds to illustrate some potential common cause linking protests against Trumpist walls in the Paso del Norte region of the Mexico-US border with a Black Lives Matter/Say Her Name coalition that is bringing down Confederate monuments in central Texas. In placing these movements in connection with each other, I highlight a synergy of the white supremacy of Jim Crow with the Anglo nationalism behind a Juan Crow variant of racist terror and anti-immigrant hatred driving the Trumpist wall constructions. Recognition of this convergence is one way, I maintain, for identifying opportunities for making common cause across the Americas’ myriad struggles to destroy the racist monuments that glorify the necropolitical legacy of racist colonialism and its ongoing social and ecological devastation. (shrink)