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Philosophy Today

Volume 64, Issue 4, Fall 2020

Philosophy in a Time of Pandemic

Alia Al-Saji
Pages 821-826

Weariness
Dismembered Time, Colonialism, Pandemics

Though fatigue appears a constant of this pandemic year, I argue that we may not all be living the same pandemic. I highlight the non-belonging of most racialized and colonized peoples to a world where flourishing is taken for granted as norm. To think this, I use the term “weariness.” I want to evoke, wearing out, wearing down, as well as the medical concept of weathering. Drawing on Césaire, Fanon, Hartman, Scott, and Spillers, my concept of weariness articulates an exhausting and enduring experience—the eroding, grating, and crumbling of racialized flesh—through repetitive colonial duration, not simply for a year, but over a longue durée. I read this as a wounding that needs to be thought not simply in terms of health outcomes and disease, but in terms of affective experience and dismembered possibility.

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