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Wesleyan University | Center for the Humanities


Necropower and the Politics of Black Fugitive Life

Necropower and the Politics of Black Fugitive Life

Axelle Karera • Andrew W. Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow, Wesleyan

OCTOBER 30 @ 6 P.M. | Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center

The history of anti-black violence, both domestically and on the global stage, generated a long critical tradition fundamentally concerned with uncovering the condition of this violence and upholding the possibility of a life free from the constant threats of obliteration. In the wake of the ongoing and uninterrupted criminalization of black life, many grew deeply skeptical of both the explanatory power and the emancipatory potential of the language of liberal democracy. This lecture traces recent attempts at theorizing the current status and future of black life. Following recent philosophical interventions in the field of Black studies, it discusses how blackness—as an onto-political category of (non)being and a figure of social death—has thrust normative liberal agendas into deep crisis. Questioning the limits of righteous indignation in the name of justice by recognizing black suffering (and death) as constitutive of democracy, it asks, in the words of Fred Moten, "what is it to be an irreducibly disordering and deformational force while at the same time being absolutely indispensable to normative order, normative form?" The aim of this lecture, however, is not merely to posit and narrate the alleged impossibility of black social life. By refusing to slide into the false dichotomy between an "Afro" optimism and a pessimism, it seeks to probe a thinking committed to the unrelenting forging of exit routes capable of endlessly recalibrating the critical force of anti-racist practices.

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