X -- The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought

X -- The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought

X -- The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought

X -- The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought

Synopsis

X: The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought offers an original account of matters African American, and by implication the African diaspora in general, as an object of discourse and knowledge. It likewise challenges the conception of analogous objects of study across dominant ethnological disciplines (e.g., anthropology, history, and sociology) and the various forms of cultural, ethnic, and postcolonial studies. With special reference to the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, Chandlershows how a concern with the Negro is central to the social and historical problematization that underwrote twentieth-century explorations of what it means to exist as an historical entity referring to their antecedents in eighteenth-century thought and forward into their ongoing itinerary in the twenty-first century. For Du Bois, "the problem of the color line" coincided with the inception of a supposedly modern horizon. The very idea of the human and its avatars the idea of race and the idea of culture emerged together with the violent, hierarchical inscription of the so-called African or Negro into a horizon of commonness beyond all natal premises, a horizon that we can still situate with the term global. In ongoing struggles with the idea of historical sovereignty, we can see the working out of then new concatenations of social and historical forms of difference, as both projects of categorical differentiation and the irruption of originary revisions of ways of being. In aword, the world is no longer and has never been one. The world, if there is such from the inception of something like "the Negro as a problem for thought" could never be, only, one. The problem of the Negro in "America" is thus an exemplary instance of modern historicity in its most fundamental sense. It renders legible for critical practice the radical order of an ineluctable and irreversible complication at the heart of being its appearance as both life and history as the very mark of ourepoch.

Excerpt

For Jacques Derrida, am memoriam

In a classical philosophical opposition we are not dealing with the peaceful coexistence of a vis-à-vis, but rather with a violent hierarchy. One of the two terms governs the other (axiologically, logically, etc.), or has the upper hand. To deconstruct the opposition, first of all, is to overturn [renverser] the hierarchy at a given moment. To overlook this phase of overturning [phase de renversement] is to forget the conflictual and subordinating structure of the opposition. Therefore one might proceed too quickly to a neutralization that in practice would leave the previous field untouched, leaving one no hold on the previous opposition, thereby preventing any means of intervening in the field effectively. We know what always have been the practical (particularly political) effects of immediately jumping beyond oppositions, and of protests in the simple form of neither this nor that. When I say that this phase is necessary, the word phase is perhaps not the most rigorous one. It is not a question of a chronological phase, a given moment, or a page that one day simply will be turned, in order to go on to other things. the necessity of this phase is structural; it is the necessity of an interminable analysis:

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