Forms of death: Necropolitics, mourning, and Black dignity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To be Black means to have ancestors whose humanity has been denied by slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and segregation, as well as by many theories elaborated in order to justify and intensify these modes of domination. To be Black also means having to face the enduring legacies of these systems and theories, which predomi-nantly manifest through overexposure to violence and death. Today, premature death and habituation to loss remain constitutive features of Black experience. Dignity, often defined as the inherent value of every single human being, has been a core concept in ethics since Kant, at least. But in both philosophy and modern politics, the claim of respect for the dignity of people has coexisted with deep antiblackness. However, apart from the Western understanding of dignity stands another tradition. The concept of dignity is pervasive in Black radicalism, Caribbean philosophy, and African thought since the 18th century. This article draws inspiration from the legacy of these thinkers to elaborate an ethics centred on the specificities of racialized life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-188
Number of pages21
JournalSymposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Black Male Studies
  • Africana philosophy
  • necropolitics
  • dignity
  • mourning


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