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Ontological Terror : Blackness, Nihilism, and Emancipation - Calvin L. Warren

Ontological Terror

Blackness, Nihilism, and Emancipation

By: Calvin L. Warren

Paperback | 18 May 2018

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In Ontological Terror Calvin L. Warren intervenes in Afro-pessimism, Heideggerian metaphysics, and black humanist philosophy by positing that the "Negro question" is intimately imbricated with questions of Being. Warren uses the figure of the antebellum free black as a philosophical paradigm for thinking through the tensions between blackness and Being. He illustrates how blacks embody a metaphysical nothing. This nothingness serves as a destabilizing presence and force as well as that which whiteness defines itself against. Thus, the function of blackness as giving form to nothing presents a terrifying problem for whites: they need blacks to affirm their existence, even as they despise the nothingness they represent. By pointing out how all humanism is based on investing blackness with nonbeing-a logic which reproduces antiblack violence and precludes any realization of equality, justice, and recognition for blacks-Warren urges the removal of the human from its metaphysical pedestal and the exploration of ways of existing that are not predicated on a grounding in being.
Industry Reviews
"Calvin L. Warren recalibrates Afro-pessimism in new directions while he seriously deepens, extends, and requires that we pay closer and better attention to the claims made by Afro-pessimist thinkers. He turns toward a new philosophy of the Americas that requires a re-reading of philosophy insofar as it is founded in producing the absence of blackness and black people as the foundation of its very possibilities. Poised to re-animate Black studies in an important way, Ontological Terror will be a foundational text of Afro-pessimist thought, even as it exceeds the term. This is a work of accomplishment."--Rinaldo Walcott, author of "Queer Returns: Essays on Multiculturalism, Diaspora, and Black Studies "
"Calvin L. Warren recalibrates afro-pessimism in new directions while he seriously deepens, extends, and requires that we pay closer and better attention to the claims made by afro-pessimist thinkers. He turns toward a new philosophy of the Americas that requires a re-reading of philosophy insofar as it is founded in producing the absence of blackness and black people as the foundation of its very possibilities. Poised to re-animate Black studies in an important way, Ontological Terror will be a foundational text of afro-pessimist thought, even as it exceeds the term. This is a work of accomplishment."--Rinaldo Walcott, author of "Queer Returns: Essays on Multiculturalism, Diaspora, and Black Studies "

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