Black Thought Matters,Third Annual AAIHS Conference 2018, At Brandeis University: ‘Don’t Cry, Scream’: Destructive Becoming and the Poetics of Rage

Title“’Don’t Cry, Scream’: Destructive Becoming and the Poetics of Rage”

Presenter: Keelyn Bradley, PhD Candidate in the Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought Division at The European Graduate School

Conference:  Black Thought Matters, The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), Third Annual Conference, March 30-31, 2018 at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts; Panel: Poetics of Race and Rage: Black Feminism and Literary Form

2018-AAIHS Conference Schedule


LGBTQI peoples of African descent, especially black queers who alternatively define themselves as Same-Gender Loving (SGL) in resistance to white homonationalism and neoliberalism, have adapted thought-practices of subaltern agency fueled by an anger that displaces authoritarian regimes of flesh and embodiment. This anti-authoritarian displacement of hierarchical dichotomization is not unlike the epistemological uncertainty and ontological instability that emerges from Frantz Fanon’s concept of anti-colonial struggle against psychic disorientation and political alienation elaborated in A Dying Colonialism. Fanon’s reterritorialization of the biopolitical occupation of Algeria as a psychosomatic landscape of veiled racialized immanence helps to generate a discussion about an ontoepistemological orientation of queer blackness that is at once concealment and transparency: an open secret of black radical leftist movements for liberation in the Americas.

Racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, and classism are all open secrets of war. How do these apparatuses of structural inequality, masked by representative modes of being, do away with contradictions and arrest the creative potential of countercultural and subcultural movements geared toward liberation while enacting forms of state-sponsored terror and intercommunal violence? Guided by Audre Lorde’s theory of silence and her idea of a poetic utterance that brings the unthinkable thought, the un-thought, into being, “giving a name to the nameless,” and Fanon’s “combat breathing,” this paper explores the ontoepistemological break of destructive becoming through emancipatory practices shaped by a black queer postcolonial feminist discourse that resists the silencing of hierarchical power with the dissonant rage and disparate noise of radical poetic thought.

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