Kathryn Yusoff: A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (2018)

10 February 2019, dusan

“No geology is neutral, writes Kathryn Yusoff. Tracing the color line of the Anthropocene, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None examines how the grammar of geology is foundational to establishing the extractive economies of subjective life and the earth under colonialism and slavery. Yusoff initiates a transdisciplinary conversation between black feminist theory, geography, and the earth sciences, addressing the politics of the Anthropocene within the context of race, materiality, deep time, and the afterlives of geology.”

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2018
Forerunners series
ISBN 9781517907532, 1517907535
xiv+115 pages

Commentary: McKenzie Wark (Verso Blog, 2019).

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Alexander G. Weheliye: Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (2014)

11 November 2017, dusan

Habeas Viscus focuses attention on the centrality of race to notions of the human. Alexander G. Weheliye develops a theory of ‘racializing assemblages,’ taking race as a set of sociopolitical processes that discipline humanity into full humans, not-quite-humans, and nonhumans. This disciplining, while not biological per se, frequently depends on anchoring political hierarchies in human flesh. The work of the black feminist scholars Hortense Spillers and Sylvia Wynter is vital to Weheliye’s argument. Particularly significant are their contributions to the intellectual project of black studies vis-à-vis racialization and the category of the human in western modernity. Wynter and Spillers configure black studies as an endeavor to disrupt the governing conception of humanity as synonymous with white, western man. Weheliye posits black feminist theories of modern humanity as useful correctives to the ‘bare life and biopolitics discourse’ exemplified by the works of Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault, which, Weheliye contends, vastly underestimate the conceptual and political significance of race in constructions of the human. Habeas Viscus reveals the pressing need to make the insights of black studies and black feminism foundational to the study of modern humanity.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, 2014
ISBN 9780822356912, 0822356910
x+209 pages

Reviews: Ashon Crawley (LARB, 2015), Marianna Szczygielska (Parallax, 2015), Aditi Surie von Czechowski (Comp Stud South Asia, Africa and Middle East, 2015), Marianela Munoz and Charles Holm (Afro-Paradise, 2015), Megan H. Glick (Hypatia Rev, 2015), Shelleen Greene (Somatechnics, 2016), Amber Jamilla Musser (philoSOPHIA, 2016), Gabriela Radulescu (Allegra Lab, 2016), Ander Mendiguren Nebreda (Athenea Digital, 2017, ES).

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M. NourbeSe Philip: Zong! (2008)

26 August 2017, dusan

“A haunting lifeline between archive and memory, law and poetry

In November, 1781, the captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that some 150 Africans be murdered by drowning so that the ship’s owners could collect insurance monies. Relying entirely on the words of the legal decision Gregson v. Gilbert—the only extant public document related to the massacre of these African slaves—Zong! tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told. Equal parts song, moan, shout, oath, ululation, curse, and chant, Zong! excavates the legal text. Memory, history, and law collide and metamorphose into the poetics of the fragment. Through the innovative use of fugal and counterpointed repetition, Zong! becomes an anti-narrative lament that stretches the boundaries of the poetic form, haunting the spaces of forgetting and mourning the forgotten.”

Publisher Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, and Mercury Press, Toronto, 2008
Wesleyan Poetry series
ISBN 9780819568762, 0819568767
xii+211 pages

Reviews: Tyrone Williams (African Am Rev, 2009), Helen Klonaris (sx salon, 2011).
Commentary: Fred Wah (Jacket2, 2013), Janet Neigh, Phanuel Antwi and Veronica Austen, M. NourbeSe Philip, Evie Shockley, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (Jacket2, 2013), Jenny Sharpe (Interventions, 2014).
Interview: Paul Watkins (Toronto Rev Books, 2014).

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Philip reading from Zong! (audio, 2007-2016)