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181. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
César Augusto Baldi From Modern Constitutionalism to New Latin American Decolonial Constitutionalism
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It is not easy for modern constitutionalism to recognize diversity in different countries. In the years since 1982, a “pluralist horizon” appeared in Latin American constitutions and now it is time to discuss the existence—or not—of a new constitutionalism in this region, especially after the main innovations have been made in the constitutional process in Bolivia and Ecuador.
182. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Melanie Otto Poet-Shamanic Aesthetics in the Work of Gloria Anzaldúa and Wilson Harris: A Critique of Postcolonial Reason
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Western intellectuals since the Enlightenment have tended to push non-Western forms of knowing to the margins of intellectual discourse and into the realm of myth and folklore. Although postcolonial criticism within and outside of the Americas challenges binary thinking and hegemonic political structures, it frequently does so within the framework of Western scholarly practice. The writings of Wilson Harris and Gloria Anzaldúa, while originating in different “American” contexts, are rooted in an indigenous-inflected episteme and address new ways of producing theory and critical writing through the creative arts. Contemporary literary studies and academic practice are far from the kind of imaginative participation that characterizes the work of Harris and particularly Anzaldúa, who was a scholar as well as an activist. Yet, the notion of art as thought or theory has the potential to expand our understanding of what constitutes knowledge and to enrich the kind of work we do as scholars in the academy.
183. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Boaventura de Sousa Santos Uncertainty, between Fear and Hope
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We are living in a period where the balanced interdependence of fear and hope seems to have collapsed as a result of the growing polarization between the world of hopeless fear (great majority of the population) and the world of fearless hope (a strictly small but all powerful minority). It is a world where uncertainties tend to become abysmal ones which, for the poor and powerless, ultimately translate into unjust fate and, for the rich and powerful, a reckless mission to appropriate the world. Under the present circumstances, the revolt and the struggle against the injustice must be waged in such a way as to bring about a new social redistribution of fear and hope to put an end to the hopelessness of the oppressed and the fearlessness of the oppressors. The struggle will be more successful if people come to realize that the hopeless fate of the powerless majorities stems from the fearless hope of the powerful minorities.
184. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
George K. Danns A Critical Analysis of Aldon Morris’s The Scholar Denied: W. E .B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology
185. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Nathifa Greene Anna Julia Cooper’s Analysis of the Haitian Revolution
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Anna Julia Cooper has gained wider recognition in philosophy, thanks to the work of black feminist scholars, generating increased interest in Cooper’s ideas on race, gender, education, and social problems in the United States. However, the global scope of Cooper’s political theory has not yet received sufficient attention. Cooper’s 1925 dissertation is an analysis of slavery and the Haitian revolution, which demonstrates the fundamental contradictions within French enlightenment discourses of liberty. Cooper shows how European discourses of liberty were hampered by the realities of enslavement, predating arguments that would become more widely known in later works, such as C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins (written in 1938) and Eric Williams’s Columbus to Castro (written in 1970). As Cooper demonstrates how ideologies of racial inequality undermined the stated ideals of the French revolution, she argues from a natural law position to not only maintain that slavery is “a supreme crime against humanity,” in her words, but also that “it is natural and just that it contains its punishment within itself.”
186. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Paget Henry Du Bois, Capitalism and Classical Sociology: Discussion of Aldon Morris’s The Scholar Denied
187. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Lawrence O. Bamikole Agency and Afro-Caribbean Existential Discourse
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Paget Henry’s (1997; 2000) narratives about the domains of existence in relation to human/social agency raise interesting issues about the theory and praxis of Afro-Caribbean existential discourse. In it, even when the relationships between agency and the material, social and spiritual domains of existence were thematized differently according to the different phases of Afro-Caribbean philosophical thought, the problematic of agency among the three domains raises similar questions across the different phases of Afro-Caribbean philosophy in relation to the theory and praxis of Afro-Caribbean existential discourse. The problem here relates to the charge whether enslaved and colonized people could be credited with cognitive, ethical and social agency in the face of a structure that presents different existential challenges to the ability of the Caribbean people to realise their personhood and live a worthwhile life. This paper argues that the existential issues raised by causal determinism—whether scientific, social or spiritual, rear their ugly heads across the three domains of existence and also through the historical and analytical phases of Afro-Caribbean philosophical thought. The thesis supported in this paper is that, contrary to western scholarship, the Caribbean people have always possessed agency and have used this to overcome existential challenges at different phases of their history. The question whether they have always succeeded in doing this is a different question.
188. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Tacuma Peters The Anti-Imperialism of Ottobah Cugoano: Slavery, Abolition, and Colonialism in Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slaveryxxxx
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This article argues that the work of Ottobah Cugoano provides readers with a robust anti-imperial analysis of European modernity. For Cugoano, slavery and colonialism are coeval and mutually constitutive processes. I argue that Cugoano’s Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evils of Slavery which has been accepted as a tract of radical abolitionism should also be interpreted as an anti-imperial text. I contend that we must attend to the global scope of Cugoano’s anti-imperialism which includes critiques of European colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, as well as provides recommendations for radical changes in the relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Through an analysis of Cugoano’s historiography of modern slavery and colonialism, I argue that Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evils of Slavery provides one of the most thorough criticisms of slavery and empire in the eighteenth century.
189. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Michael Neocosmos The Dialectic of Emancipatory Politics and African Subjective Potentiality
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All politics (i.e., a collective organised thought-practice), if it is to be emancipatory, must exhibit a dialectic of expressive and excessive thought. The absence of the dialectic implies the absence of a politics. The same point can be made by stressing that, in emancipatory politics, thought and practice are indistinguishable. The dialectic here concerns an emancipatory politics latent in excluded popular African traditions. Such latency means that a potentiality for dialectical thought often already exists within African traditions. Yet it can only be activated in struggle. I show through three examples separated by long periods of time, that Africans—or more accurately some Africans—have successfully activated existing potentials into emancipatory politics by thinking against and beyond the oppressive particularities of interests, place and identity embedded in dominant cultures (such as those typical of civil society today) and have thus emphasised the centrality of universal humanity in the politics of emancipation.
190. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Ricardo Sanín-Restrepo Creolization as a New Poetics of Power: On Jane Anna Gordon’s Creolizing Political Theory: Reading Rousseau through Fanon
191. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Drucilla Cornell No Revolutionary Decolonization without Creolization
192. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Michael J. Monahan Creolizing History and Identity: On the Subject of History in Jane Gordon’s Creolizing Political Theory
193. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Douglas Ficek Creolization and Philosophical Anthropology: The Humanism of Creolizing Political Theory
194. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Anjuli I. Gunaratne “Writing Traumatic Time”: The Tragic Art and Thought of Sylvia Wynter
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This essay reads Sylvia Wynter’s only novel The Hills of Hebron (1962) as a modern tragedy, one that both challenges and builds upon Raymond Williams’s concept of modern tragedy. The essay’s main argument is that tragedy, as a literary form, and the tragic, as a philosophical concept, are fundamental to Wynter’s project of creating forms of counterpoieses. Engaging Wynter’s interlocution with tragedy is crucial for comprehending how she is able to transform loss into a condition of possibility, primarily for the writing of what she calls “traumatic time.” Instead of only blocking mental representation, traumatic loss in Wynter becomes the first gesture of a philosophical activity that makes presentable that which has been lost or abandoned to a state of ruin, an argument that Walter Benjamin, another writer in dark times, had earlier made in The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Occupying the temporality of the tragic, Wynter has always made the re-assumption of the past—“slave, slave masters and all,” as she says—central to her project of critiquing and dismantling the “descriptive statement” of Man as the only permissible version of the Human. In my reading of The Hills of Hebron, I show how the novel utilizes the aesthetic, particularly the medium of theatricality, as the grounds for a theoretical framework that makes, in a manner redolent of Antigone, “the wretched of the earth” presentable not as “symbolic death” but rather as allegories of resistance.
195. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Sylvia Wynter Beyond Liberal and Marxist Leninist Feminisms: Towards an Autonomous Frame of Reference
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This paper attempts to outline an autonomous feminism; a feminism with its own voice, and one that will transcend the binaries in which Marxism and liberalism are still caught. Its first step is to make clear the semio-linguistic foundations of all human social systems. These foundations consist of an open-ended set of social imaginary signifiers embedded in complex abduction or analogy-producing schemas, the creative conjugating of which makes possible the establishing of social orders such as families, monarchies or patriarchies. The second is to show that the semiotics of these orders require dominant or central signifiers, such as father or king, that must be supported by subordinate or peripheral ones. Third, the paper shows that women have consistently functioned as subordinate signifiers in these order-producing semio-linguistic codes. Fourth and finally, the paper details the semiotic difficulties of overthrowing this underlying governing code and thus breaking women out of their assigned subordinate positions.
196. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Shawn Gonzalez Counter-Novels: Sylvia Wynter’s Fictional and Theoretical Disenchantment of the Novel Form
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While Sylvia Wynter emphasizes the written word’s capacity to transform our systems of organizing knowledge, she repeatedly questions the extent to which novels can have this transformative capacity. Both her theoretical writing and the plot of her 1962 novel The Hills of Hebron emphasize the novel’s limitations. However, Wynter does not totally reject the form. Instead, she reimagines the novel through the idea of the “counter-novel,” developed in conjunction with her close reading of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. This essay considers The Hills of Hebron as a counter-novel by analyzing the connections between novel’s two artist characters, The Hills of Hebron, and Wynter’s reading of The Invisible Man. Through this analysis, I argue that Wynter’s novel can be read as a substantial contribution to her theoretical corpus that has continued relevance to her challenge to transform dominant systems of knowledge production.
197. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Ege Selin Islekel Totalizing the Open: Roots and Boundary Markers in Wynter and Glissant
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This essay focuses on the spatial organization of the genre of ‘Man.’ In particular, I investigate the spatial attitudes through which the genre of Man emerges as a racialized, geographically determined, and gendered category. There are two main arcs of analysis provided: the first arc follows the relation between the space of exploration and the space of totalization. The second arc focuses on the role of boundary markers such as the ‘Other’ and the ‘Outside,’ in the spatial organization of Man. I argue, overall, that the totalitarian spatial attitude of the Modern State is formed on the basis of the transformation of the cosmogeny of Man from a spatially limited earth to one open to exploration. The racialized ladder of the State rests on such production of a spatial attitude that is at once open and totalitarian.
198. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò Excluded Moderns and Race/Racism in Euro-American Philosophy: James Africanus Beale Horton
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The literature on race/racism and modern Euro-American philosophy obscures a category of continental African thinkers who not only embraced modernity and its core tenets but used them as the metric for judging their societies and self-making. Their embrace of modernity led them to share certain assumptions about their societies’ past like those that ground the racism of modern Euro-American philosophy. The literature has not attended to their ideas. The obscuring arises from racializing the discourse of philosophy and race/racism within a black-white/white-nonwhite schema. We, instead, historicize the discourse and show how, in embracing modernity, Africans managed, simultaneously, to repudiate modern philosophy’s racism. African thinkers never saw modernity as white or quintessentially European: it is the latest iteration of the human march to a better life for the species; they historicized it. The paper concludes with an exegesis of one such thinker from nineteenth century West Africa, James Africanus Beale Horton.
199. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Paget Henry Samir Amin and the Future of Caribbean Philosophy
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This paper attempts to deepen the already rich exchange between Caribbean scholars and the distinguished African scholar Samir Amin. In particular, it attempts to expand the exchanges on the relations between philosophy, economics and culture. The expansion uncovers hidden but significant complementary relations between the contributions of Caribbean scholars, such as C.L.R. James, Lloyd Best, and Sylvia Wynter, and the work of Amin on philosophy economics and culture.
200. The CLR James Journal: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Alyssa Adamson C.L.R. James’s Decolonial Humanism in Theory and Practice
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This paper argues for the concept of a decolonial humanism at the heart of C.L.R. James’s theoretical and political engagements. In exploring the concept of decolonial humanism, the paper moves through three major sections dealing with some of the definitive epistemic and political aspects of James’s work: (i) a critique of Enlightenment Humanism and European Marxism without disavowing the aspirations of universal human emancipation; (ii) James’s work with the Johnson-Forest Tendency, the Pan-Africanist movement, and his attempts at labor organizing in Trinidad first alongside Eric Williams in the People’s National Movement (PNM) and later in his own Workers and Farmer’s Party (WFP); and (iii) the practicality of decolonial humanism in terms of its adoption by Tim Hector and the Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement (ACLM).