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Radical Philosophy Review

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published on March 25, 2014

Eduardo Mendieta
DOI: 10.5840/radphilrev20143219

The Sound of Race
The Prosody of Affect

This essay urges us to complement work on the philosophy and social science of race that has focused on the “visual” and “epistemic” dimension of racism with work on affect or what is here called the somatological dimensions of racism. The racist self hears race before he sees it. The racist self is convulsed by race before she experiences it as an epistemic affair. It is argued here that we dwell in the sound house of race. Before racism is chromocratic, it is phonocratic. The technologies of the racist self are the technologies of racializing aurality and phonology. Racism brands us sonically. Race, it will be argued, is a sonic stigmata. More specifically, the focus will be on voice, accent, what here is called the prosody of race. The aim is make those racialized and racializing accents in philosophy resound, echo, and reverberate so that we can hear the prosody of race. The racist does not dwell in the silent chamber of the mind’s “I.” The viscera of racism dwells in the body our racist habits have domesticated.

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