Black Western thought : toward a theory of the black citizen object
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Black Western Thought: Toward a Theory of the Black Citizen-Object troubles and challenges the philosophical category of the human, particularly the black human. Oppositionally reading Enlightenment texts like Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful and Emanuel Kant’s Observations on the Feelings of the Beautiful and Sublime, I extend Emanuel Eze and Charles Mills critiques of Kant and the Enlightenment through relinquishing the quest for a black humanity. This project embraces the abjection of blackness and posits that in the rejection of quest for humanity the black citizen-object reveals heretofore unexplored ontology, epistemology, poetics, and philosophy. Through careful close-reading of poets Phillis Wheatley, Terrance Hayes, Natasha Trethewey, and Jericho Brown, this project explores the political and aesthetic possibility of extending the democracy of subjectivity and presiding intelligence to black aesthetic and intellectual productions. Moving away from the notion of blackness as fear-inducing, funky, reprobate, and disorderly, this project constantly seeks to play with the dark rather than play in the dark. This act of ‘playing with the dark’ manifests as an interrogation of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man in relationship to quantum physics and visibility / invisibility of blackness. The project hopes to shake the very stable ground of the ontology of aesthetics and academic discourse.