A Phenomenology of Hesitation: Interrupting racializing habits of seeing

In Emily Lee (ed.), Living Alterities: Phenomenology, Embodiment, and Race. State University of New York Press. pp. 133-172 (2014)
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This paper asks how perception becomes racializing and seeks the means for its critical interruption. My aim is not only to understand the recalcitrant and limitative temporal structure of racializing habits of seeing, but also to uncover the possibilities within perception for a critical awareness and destabilization of this structure. Reading Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in dialogue with Frantz Fanon, Iris Marion Young and race-critical feminism, I locate in hesitation the phenomenological moment where habits of seeing can be internally fractured. Hesitation, I claim, makes visible the exclusionary logic of racializing and objectifying perception, countering its affective closure and opening it to critical transformation.



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Alia Al-Saji
McGill University

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