“To become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
- Assata Shakur
It has been said that, if the purpose of the Social Sciences are to locate solutions to problems, then the purpose of the Humanities is rightly that of discovering why these problems arrive and continue to persist at all. Yet, recently, there has emerged – against the tidal wave of diatribes on liberal support for diversity, multiculturalism and social progress narratives – an intellectual disturbance, murmuring out of the corner of the corner of the Academy. If Black studies has always already been an (anti)-discipline discipline, disciplined into the margins of the academic factory, then the anti-disciplinary nature of this particular black theoretical analytic becomes doubly confounded within the gates of the University as: A) Useless verbosity in both the direction of Black liberation more generally, and more specifically, within the limited terrain of “Liberation theory,” that situates the coherence of Black Studies as a field of study within the Academy, and B) as Non-productive/Non-legible knowledge production, or rather as knowledge which does not rapidly intensify the re-production of capital and additionally, as knowledge which cannot – which is explicitly different than does not – be considered, conceptualized, or designated as knowledge production at all under the axiomatic re-production of the grammar and syntax of the Human.
Indeed, this specter – the specter of Afro-pessimism – haunts not only the field of Black Studies, but the entire coherence of the Social Sciences and the Humanities’ as such. For this specter is a specter of black chanting, of black utterance, of black enunciation in which the chants enchants anagrammatical signification: a portal to no-where and no-thing, “the failure of words and concepts to hold in and on Black flesh,”[iii] and the tortured threat of impossibility. Certainly, there is nothing more horrific for the critics of Afro-pessimism than the threat of impossibility for, it is well-known and well-shared that we are, in fact, in dyer times. Fascism is on the rise, they say. Borders are being shut down. Now is not the time to turn to despondency. And yet, what undergirds this appeal to hope and alarm, is both the presupposition of an epiphonemal relationship between pessimism and fatalism and a failure to understand slavery’s persistence within the reality of slavery’s difference and repetition. Whereas the pessimism/fatalism conflation not only fails to understand the situated and pointed direction of the pessimism of this Afro-pessimism (the situation which is “an/the anti-black world”[iv]) it also undermines the radical significance of being quite simply fed up with the list of available solutions given by the social sciences and the reasons for those failures given by the Humanities. In this sense, rather than ruminating on whether or not critical Black theory should be pessimist or optimist, hopeless or hopeful, might we instead ask: What exactly are these pessimist-pessimist about? Jared Sexton provides a clear and easy answer, when he states, “What I hear in the gathering discourse is a complex meditation on what Caribbean poet M. NourbeSe Philip (2005) calls ‘the matrix’ of ‘modern capitalist society,’ namely, ‘the four hundred year [plus!] history of slavery, which destroyed so much in African life’ (8). That history and that destruction—both of which, it bears repeating, are ongoing—are very much at the center of our thinking, as are the questions regarding how one might inhabit that history and that destruction.”[v] The crux of the orientation of this pessimism is directed towards this “matrix of modern capitalist society,” which requires “that history and that destruction” of the Black within the context of the ongoing productions of Blackness as disposable flesh. If there is no challenge to whether or not, Blackness continues to be disposable flesh then, it seems the most pernicious remark of the Afro-pessimist concerns the possibility of its finitude and the consequences of its longevity. That the entirety of Black studies relies on and upon the sanctity of this finitudinal relation to the problem of being a Problem that constitutes Blackness inside the World in general, and the Humanites in specific, has rarely occurred to anyone precisely because it has rarely occurred to anyone to ask: Will this ever end?
If, as an ontological position, that is, as a grammar of suffering, the Slave is not a laborer but an anti-Human, a positionality against which Humanity establishes, maintains, and renews it coherence, its corporeal integrity; if the Slave is, to borrow from Patterson, generally dishonored, perpetually open to gratuitous violence, and void of kinship structure, that is, having no relations that need be recognized, a being outside of relationality, then our analysis cannot be approached through the rubric of gains or reversals in struggles with the state and civil society, not unless and until the interlocutor first explains how the Slave is of the world. The onus is not on one who posits the Master/Slave dichotomy, but on the one who argues there is a distinction between Slaveness and Blackness. How, when, and where did such a split occur? The woman at the gates of Columbia University awaits an answer[vi].
In this poignant passage from Frank Wilderson’s central work Red, White and Black: The Structure of U.S. Antagonisms, Wilderson cuts straight to the crux of the issue. What he invokes here in what I am calling, The Parable at the Gates of Columbia, is a meta-critical analysis of the structure of narrative itself. The Black woman at the gates of Columbia University functions in Wilderson’s work as an illustration of an anti-ethical parable aimed at illustrating the fundamentally foundational impossibility of something discernible such as “ethics” ever emerging from the conceptual economy of Modernity. Wilderson introduces Red, White and Black with the following:
When I was a young student at Columbia University in New York there was a Black woman who used to stand outside the gate and yell at Whites, Latinos, and East and South Asia students, staff, and faculty as they entered the University. She accused them of having stolen her sofa and of selling her into slavery. She always winked at the Blacks, though we didn’t wink back. Some of us thought her outburst bigoted and out of step with the burgeoning ethos of multiculturalism and “rainbow coalitions.” But others did not wink back because we were too fearful of the possibility that her isolation would become our isolation, and we had come to Columbia for the precise, though largely assumed and unspoken, purpose of foreclosing on that peril. Besides, people said she was crazy[vii].
Madness is a science without a theory[viii]. Or rather, an analytic without being-towards-solutions, a complex meditation on the possibility of impossibility. What the Black woman at the Gates of Columbia utters in her unspeakable ethics is the ongoing, persistence of the Master/Slave relation in the context of Blackness and the Human. Further, her persistent speech against the grain of liberal progress narratives and the fact of her isolation, of her being rendered mad by all – including that of the other Blacks as a means to not make “her isolation” become “our isolation,” is exactly the positionality of isolation through which, as Wilderson argues, “Humanity establishes, maintains, and renews it coherence, its corporeal integrity.”
What is it that must not be said about Blackness? That Blackness is still Slaveness. This Anti-Nietzschean moment, spoken from the lips of a Black women outside the Gates of Columbia functions to parallel a death of an importance perhaps greater, if not more terrifying than that which was uttered before by the madman in Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathrusta. For if Nietzsche’s madman goes mad due to his realization that “that which falls prey to Reason by becoming its object has no place in the realm of Freedom,”[ix] the Black woman at the Gates of Columbia signifies that Blackness itself as an object of ontological categorization exist as an object that can only speak within the matrix of unfreedom – which Reason always already designates it as. Thus, what Wilderson’s parable illustrates, Saidiya Hartman’s, “The Belly of the World: A Note on Black Women’s Labor” makes clear. Hartman writes: “To be a slave is to be ‘excluded from the prerogatives of birth.’ The mother’s only claim – to transfer her dispossession to the child.”[x]
If the Black woman outside of Columbia is still a Slave, then when will she not be? And what are the consequences of her still being trapped structurally within a positionality of abjection? In what ways can we account for the fact that her scene of subjection no longer looks like plantation fields and overseers, masters and slave auctions, and so on and so forth? Or better, in what ways can we account for the fact that she is often found – not outside the Gates of Columbia – but inside the Gates of Columbia theorizing the impossibilities which have “confounded our conceptual categories and thrown our critical lexicon into crisis.”[xi] That Red, White and Black begins with this parable falls in line with the analytic genealogy of Afro-pessimism as an analytic which descends first and foremost from the Black feminist theoretician and scholars, Hortense Spillers and Saidiya Hartman. Writing in her field-changing work, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” Hortense Spillers writes:
W. E. B. Du Bois predicted as early as 1903 that the twentieth century would be the century of the “color line.” We could add to this spatiotemporal configuration another thematic of analogously terrible weight: if the “black woman” can be seen as a particular figuration of the split subject that psychoanalytic theory posits, then this century marks the site of “its” profoundest revelation. The problem before us is deceptively simple: the terms enclosed in quotation marks in the preceding paragraph isolate overdetermined nominative properties. Embedded in bizarre axiological ground, they demonstrate a sort of telegraphic coding; they are markers so loaded with mythical prepossession that there is no easy way for the agents buried beneath them to come clean. In that regard, the names by which I am called in the public place render an example of signifying property plus[xii].
When Hortense Spillers speaks of the terms “black woman” being “embedded in bizarre axiological ground,” being a name which signifies “property plus,” what she illustrates is the ongoing relations of abjection and its coterminous relationship with Blackness, specifically black “womanness” even in the afterlife of slavery. This relation of abjection and Blackness continues into the present as “We carry the mother’s mark and it continues to define our condition and our present.”[xiii] The mark of the mother – “Partus sequitur ventrem – the child follows the womb”[xiv] – as illustrated in Wilderson’s Parable at the Gates of Columbia and Saidiya Hartman’s The Belly of the World: A Note on Black Women’s Labor initiates perplexity precisely because the entire categorical coherence of the Human, the Humanities, and the search for solutions must always be taken up “through the rubric of gains or reversals in struggles with the state and civil society.” And yet the entirety of that framework necessarily frames the Black and more specifically, the Black women’s body as being a being “so loaded with mythical prepossession that there is no easy way for the agents buried beneath them to come clean,” for “the names by which I am called in the public place render an example of signifying property plus.”
Indeed, it is the trappings of Blackness inside a conception of being as “an object among other objects,”[xv] or rather, a “being for the captor,”[xvi] that situates the direction of Afro-pessimism’s pessimism. They are pessimist towards the possibility of the Human, the Humanities, and Civil Society as-is to redress the 500 years and counting of harm done to and upon Black flesh. Not only because Blackness signifies property plus, but also because this signification – which is precisely what Frank Wilderson means when he mentions the indistinguishability between Blackness and Slaveness – is a signification structured into the libidinal economy (and I might add the conceptual economy) of modernity itself. That Blackness has come to signify Slaveness does not mean that the conditions have not differed drastically in the dress and makeup of the paradigm, but what it means quite simply is that the Black is still enveloped in an “American Grammar” which ostensibly re-writes, re-signifies and re-conceptualizes the Black as Slave/Anti-Human in each passing epoch after another.
Yet, the consequences of such an idea, if true, are enough to strike a paralysis in the heart of the field of Black Studies, the departments of the Humanities and the theoretical motivations and implications of social movements more broadly. For what the Parable at the Gates of Columbia illustrates, Karl Marx himself declares when in Capital Volume 1 he writes, “In the United States of North America, every independent movement of the workers was paralyzed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic. Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded.”[xvii] It is this statement by Karl Marx that I call the confessions of Karl Marx. For what these confessions reveal is exactly what becomes a dreadful, anxiety-inducing despair generated by Afro-pessimism’s insistence on the repetition of slavery, namely, that if the Black is still a Slave, then “every independent movement of the workers” is paralyzed or rather, in the Afro-pessimist translation, every independent movement of the Human whether it be White/Non-Black Feminist, Marxist, or Subaltern movements and fields of study become paralyzed so long as slavery continues to disfigure civil society. Saidiya Hartman writes in an agreement with this analysis of paralysis when critiquing the Marxist and Masculinist orientations of W.E.B. Du Bois and C.L.R. James:
In two of the greatest works of black radical tradition, W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction and C.L.R. James’s Black Jacobins, the agency of the enslaved becomes legible as politics, rather than crime or destruction, at the moment slaves are transformed into black workers and revolutionary masses fashioned along the lines of the insurgent proletariat. However, representing that slave through the figure of the worker (albeit unwaged and unfree), obscures as much as it reveals, making it difficult to distinguish the constitutive elements of slavery as a mode of power, violence, dispossession and accumulation or to attend to the forms of gendered and sexual violence that enables these processes[xviii].
The Slave as “ungendered” gendering, as “un-genred” genre displaces legibility from within the terrain of Politics when it utters from this positionality of Slaveness. For the exorbitance of anti-Black violence cannot be subsumed under the figure of the Worker, the Woman (need I add the “Man”) as well as “the Subaltern.” Yet, to become legible within the schema of Politics, of Humanity, and henceforth, of the Humanities’ the Slave must either: insist on being represented through the figure of the Human and its discourse of legibility which always already “obscures as much as it reveals” or accept the isolating logic behind the winks of the Mad Black Woman outside the Gates of Columbia namely that Blackness, after the Death of God and the Birth of Man, instantiates “a positionality against which Humanity establishes, maintains, and renews it coherence, its corporeal integrity.”
I return to this phrase three times in order to underline that the logic of Afro-pessimism’s pessimism relies on this central claim. That the Black is still a Slave insofar as being a Slave is being a being against which Humanity broadly construed continues to reproduce itself and understand itself as Human, as not-Slave, as not-that-Unfree. For this reason when Blackness, like God, became an object of Reason, Blackness had “no place in the realm of Freedom.” Blackness became the absolute Other to the Rational, as the absolute boundary between Human and Non-Human, and a springboard to the sensations of being Human. In this remark, the specter of Afro-pessimism finds mutual comradery in the work of Sylvia Wynter, for even if the language of Slave itself is not invoked, the meaning of Blackness qua Slaveness as the “positionality against which Humanity establishes, maintains, and renews it coherence, its corporeal integrity,” is congruent with how Sylvia Wynter reads the post-Sixties break, which of course locates its temporality within the trans-temporal spacetime of what Saidiya Hartman dubbed the “afterlife of slavery.”[xix] Wynter writes:
[I]f we see this category of the damnés that is internal to (and interned within) the prison system of the United States as the analog form of a global archipelago, constituted by the Third- and Fourth-World peoples of the so-called “underdeveloped” areas of the world … a systemic pattern emerges. This pattern is linked to the fact that while in the post-sixties United States, as Herbert Gans noted recently, the Black population group, of all the multiple groups comprising the post-sixties social hierarchy, has once again come to be placed at the bottommost place of that hierarchy (Gans, 1999), with all incoming new nonwhite/non-Black groups, as Gans’s fellow sociologist Andrew Hacker (1992) earlier pointed out, coming to claim “normal” North American identity by the putting of visible distance between themselves and the Black population group (in effect, claiming “normal” human status by distancing themselves from the group that is still made to occupy the nadir, “nigger” rung of being human within the terms of our present ethnoclass[xx]. (italics added)
This move to claim “’normal’ north American identity by the putting of visible distance between themselves and the Black population group” is the move that everyone – including the Black population group at Columbia who – as bourgeois aspiring and henceforth, ‘normal’ north American identity-desiring Blacks – must do in order to be able to make such a claim to being Human at all. What is Slaveness in Wilderson is “the nadir, ‘nigger’ rung of being Human” in Wynter, and what the consequences of such a positionality are for both of these thinkers are the consequences which are also being alarmed in the confessions of Karl Marx. Thus, I will return to Sylvia Wynter, who speaks strongly about the consequence of the aforementioned positionality of which the Afro-pessimist might have only been too obscure about declaring. Wynter writes:
We cannot as a population group of African descent, wholly or partly, expect any other result but our continued degradation and global disempowerment, within the terms of our present conception of the human, Man, and the order of knowledge by means of which this conception is elaborated. As the Other to this conception of the human, the cultural messages of the order of knowledge which elaborates this conception must by necessity be hostile not only to our realization, but to our survival as a population group. It is it or us[xxi].
What the Parable at the Gates of Columbia announces, what the works of Saidiya Hartman, Hortense Spillers, Frank Wilderson, Jared Sexton, Christina Sharpe and a score of other scholars, both young and old, both “men” and “women”, both inside and outside of the Gates of the Columbia, is the repetition of Blackness as a structurally positioned by and through slavery which has persisted well into the present. The consequences of such a statement, if true, is not and cannot be both/and in regards to the question of the Human and the Black, as Wynter notes: It is it or us. This anomaly Karl Marx notes when he states, “In the United States of North America, every independent movement of the workers was paralyzed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic. Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded.” But, what Marx does directly after this confession is repress what the Mad Black Women at the Gates of Columbia forces into consciousness. Marx goes on to say, “But out of the death of Slavery a new life rose.”[xxii]
This movement to announce the death of Slavery is what the entire domain of the Social Sciences and the Humanities hinges upon. For if Slavery is not over then, every critical movement of thought, thinking and problem-solving collapses into paralysis. Every narrative of liberal progression falls into and upon itself under the rubble of the branded black body. The story of “us” becomes a story of the U.S, those who come into “normal” north America identity by putting visible distance between themselves and the Black, and the Black itself. What this “complex meditation” in the corner of the corner of the Academy fails to do is commit too quickly upon answering no to the question that the Black Women outside of the Gates of Columbia forces us to ask, namely: Is the Black still a Slave, is the Black still a “positionality against which Humanity establishes, maintains, and renews it coherence, its corporeal integrity.” If to ask such a question from within the Academy in the 21st Century is to revel in madness and the study of madness, then I suggest that Black Studies in the 21st Century might do itself a favor in joining its study of Blackness with the Madness Studies emerging on the outskirts and underside of Science, Technology and Society departments. For it is Achille Mbembe, another proto-Afro-pessimist thinker and critic, who during a lecture delivered at Duke Franklin Humanities Institute stated that, “Freedom might be conterminous with madness.”[xxiii] Madness is a science without a theory, an analytic without being-towards-solutions, a complex meditation on the possibility of impossibility. Might it be possible that this madness brings us somewhat, someway, somehow closer to being free, to the denouement of the repetition of slavery? I, for one, am utterly and committedly uncertain: finding the crisis of the Negro problem to be one so axiomatically connected to the violence of Humanism that concepts such as “Liberation” themselves might in fact need to be called into question. Yet, contrary to critical belief, Wilderson gives a sort of negative anti-Political project about the possibilities of a free Black world. In an interview on Ferguson, Missouri Wilderson states, “And then, move into a conversation about what is to be done, realizing that our language and our concepts (post-colonial, Marxist discourse) are so much a part of other peoples’ problems, problems that can be solved, that we’ll really never get to the thing that solves our problem — because it’s already there in Fanon: the end of the world.”[xxiv] Additionally, Jared Sexton, in an essay titled, “The Vel of Slavery: The Figure of Unsovereign,” gives an equally negative anti-Political political project which I’d say should be read as the less abstracted abstraction of Wilderson’s End of the World, Sexton writes, “Abolition, the political dream of Black Studies, its unconscious thinking, consists in the affirmation of the unsovereign slave – the affectable, the derelict, the monstrous, the wretched – figures of an order altogether different from (even when they coincide or cohabit with) the colonized native – the occupied, the undocumented, the unprotected, the oppressed. Abolition is beyond (the restoration of) sovereignty.”[xxv] What Afro-pessimist are attempting to speak is exactly what Karl Mark confesses to know, “Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded.” And if there is any lesson to be learned from the Parable of the Gates of Columbia it might, in fact, be that that Black thought when spoken in the register of unspeakable ethics is always already “conterminous with madness” and this madness fuels the insatiable thirst for placing the Black inside a field of isolation, a position of social death.
In reading Afro-pessimism, in sitting with/in and on this complex meditation, we wrestle with a maddening reality, the nonsensical sense of the perpetuation of a system of annihilation, the axiomatics of a system of thought which thinks Blackness as ungendered “gender,” un-genred “genre” and disposable flesh. Is there not some “reason” in the critique that, in fact, if one is honest, Blackness continues to be disposable, accumulable flesh? That whereas though “times have changed” what has remained the same is that the world still mobilizes itself, its reproductive logics, its “gestational language,”[xxvi] in accordance to a logic that “in effect,” results in those who come to claim “normal” human status” doing so “by distancing themselves from the group that is still made to occupy the nadir, “nigger” rung of being human within the terms of our present ethnoclass.” With the Afro-pessimist staging of the problematics, what occurs is paralysis – a break in the action of consensus and conflict, and an utterance of refusal and antagonism. Thus, as Marx was correct in stating, “Primitive accumulation plays in Political Economy about the same part as original sin in theology,”[xxvii] the Black women at the Gates of Columbia functions in the Humanities as an anti-ethical Parable on the ongoing dissemination of that original sin. The Original Sin which is not over. The Original Sin which is still with us today.
What if we sat a little longer, in hopes of listening closer, if not to one another than to the dead and dying Black bodies Christina Sharpe urges us to defend[xxviii]? What if part of the solution is putting an end to posing solutions to problems which run deeper than the logic of “fix” and “redress”? What if we joined this complex meditation with blackness and madness and not-quite-womanhood and not-quite-manhood as a way to unleash an imagination that does not make recourse to the constraints of reality which, as a good friend once told me, is “always already capitulation to power”[xxix]? Indeed, what do we lose by engaging this ensemble of poetic meditation happening in this corner of the corner of the University, attempting to return the philosopher and the activist, to what Sonia Sanchez writes is the most important question of the 21st Century, namely, “What does it mean to be Human?”[xxx] It would seem as though, by the name of Assata Shakur, we would have nothing to lose but our chains.
 Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography (Zed Books Ltd., 2016), 375.
 Cedric Robinson writes in Futures of Black Radicalism that “One of the weaknesses of Black radicalism in most of its forms is that it lacks the promise of a certain future. Unlike Marxism [where] victory is inevitable eventually, in Black radicalism it is not. Only when that radicalism is costumed or achieves an envelope in Black Christianity is there a certainty to it. Otherwise it is about a kind of resistance that does not promise triumph or victory at the end, only liberation. No nice package at the end, only that you would be free.” Thus, a crucial part of critical race theory approaches grounded in the Black Radical Tradition is in theories of liberation. For the quote above and more see: Cedric J. Robinson and Elizabeth P. Robinson, “Introduction,” in Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin, Futures of Black Radicalism (Verso Books, 2017), 7.
[iii] Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (Duke University Press, 2016), 123.
[iv] Lewis Gordon critiques Afro-pessimism as making “an ontological leap” by turning his “an” anti-Black world to “the” anti-Black work. I place both here because I find the distinction to be an arbitrary one when the underlying principle holding the two together in conversation is the ongoing accumulation of black death. Whether we are in an anti-Black world or the anti-Black world matters very little if what remains the same is that bodies continue to pile up. For Gordon’s critical take on Afro-pessimism: Lewis R Gordon et al., “Afro Pessimism,” Contemporary Political Theory 17, no. 1 (2018): 105–37.
[v] Jared Sexton, “Afro-Pessimism: The Unclear Word,” Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge 29 (2016): 7.
[vi] Frank B Wilderson III, Red, White & Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms (Duke University Press, 2010), 19.
[vii] Wilderson III, 1.
[viii] In this sense we are following the vein of Jacques Derrida when he writes, “And if an assured and guaranteed decision is impossible, this is because there is nothing more to be done than to commit oneself, to perform, to wager, to allow chance its chance-to make a decision that is essentially edgeless, bordering perhaps only on madness. Jacques Derrida and Avital Ronell, “The Law of Genre,” Critical Inquiry 7, no. 1 (1980): 71.
[ix] Denise Ferreira Da Silva, Toward a Global Idea of Race, vol. 27 (U of Minnesota Press, 2007), xvii.
[xi] Hartman, 82.
[xiii] Hartman, “The Belly of the World: A Note on Black Women’s Labors,” 83.
[xiv] Hartman, 80.
[xv] Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (Grove press, 2008), 89.
[xvi] Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” 67.
[xvii] Karl Marx, Capital-Volumes One and Two (Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2013), 206. Karl Marx, “Capital: Volume 1,” 1999, 206, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch26.htm.
[xviii] Hartman, “The Belly of the World: A Note on Black Women’s Labors,” 80–81.
[xix] Hartman, 80.
[xxi] Sylvia Wynter, “A Black Studies Manifesto,” in Forum NHI, vol. 1, 1994, 10.
[xxii] Marx, Capital-Volumes One and Two, 206.
[xxiii] Achille Mbembe, “Frantz Fanon and the Politics of Viscerality.” Lecture Delivered April 27th, 2016 at the Duke
Franklin Humanities Institute).
[xxiv] Frank B Wilderson, ““We’re Trying to Destroy the World” Anti-Blackness & Police Violence After Ferguson,” Ill Will Editions, 2014, 18.
[xxvi] Hartman, “The Belly of the World: A Note on Black Women’s Labors,” 80.
[xxvii] Marx, Capital-Volumes One and Two, 501.
[xxviii] Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being.
[xxix] Mehra Gharibian, PhD Student, Culture and Theory at University of California, Irvine (Private Conversation)