Afro-Pessimism and the (Un)Logic of Anti-Blackness

Historical Materialism 26 (2):96-122 (2018)
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Abstract

In the coming months and years, the left faces a historic juncture. On the one hand, racist violence is on the rise across the West, and the political class seems intent on mobilising both overt and subtle racism. On the other hand, strategies of anti-racist organising, which have developed on both sides of the Atlantic, have reached a theoretical impasse. I argue that now, more than ever, a serious project of historical and intellectual retrieval is necessary. This article interrogates the theoretical limitations of ‘anti-blackness’ as an analysis of racialised oppression. Through the thought of Frantz Fanon and Steve Biko, among others, I argue that theories of ‘anti-blackness’, specifically those rooted in Afro-pessimism, are predicated on a theoretical shift away from relational social theory to identitarian essentialism which obscures, rather than illuminates, the processes of racialisation which undergird racial oppression.

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Citations of this work

Afropessimism.Gloria Wekker - 2021 - European Journal of Women's Studies 28 (1):86-97.
Afropessimism and the Specter of Black Nihilism.Orlando Hawkins - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.

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References found in this work

The wretched of the earth.Frantz Fanon - 1998 - In Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (ed.), African Philosophy: An Anthology. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 228--233.

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