Sylvia Wynter

On Being Human as Praxis

Sylvia Wynter

Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: Published: December 2014

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

The Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter is best known for her diverse writings that pull together insights from theories in history, literature, science, and black studies, to explore race, the legacy of colonialism, and representations of humanness. Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis is a critical genealogy of Wynter’s work, highlighting her insights on how race, location, and time together inform what it means to be human. The contributors explore Wynter’s stunning reconceptualization of the human in relation to concepts of blackness, modernity, urban space, the Caribbean, science studies, migratory politics, and the interconnectedness of creative and theoretical resistances. The collection includes an extensive conversation between Sylvia Wynter and Katherine McKittrick that delineates Wynter’s engagement with writers such as Frantz Fanon, W. E. B. DuBois, and Aimé Césaire, among others; the interview also reveals the ever-extending range and power of Wynter’s intellectual project,  and elucidates her attempts to rehistoricize humanness as praxis.


"[On] Being Human as Praxis is a major contribution to growing efforts to bring Sylvia Wynter’s critical thought to the fore of contemporary critical social theory. The collection secures Wynter’s status as a heretical intellectual insisting on the relevance of the radical Black/Caribbean decolonial tradition to the systemic crises of the early 21st century planet."  — Anthony Bayani Rodriguez, Antipode

"In their combination, and in their resonance with Wynter’s intricate and expansive opening meditation on race, science, and human being, these essays present a complex and coherent intellectual project, at once deeply rooted and generously rhizomic." — Kaiama L. Glover, Contemporary Women's Writing

"All essays in this volume reflect upon Wynter’s hermetic theoretical thoughts and guide the reader through her concept of humanism. Here, McKittrick’s introductory interview serves as a point of reference and allows Wynter herself to participate in this process. On Being Human opens up unique perspectives on discourses of modern society" — Lea Hülsen, KULT

"McKittrick’s collection is rich with insights that, in the spirit of Wynter’s work, can help to reshape urgent conversations by compelling us to ask different questions from different starting points." — S. Trimble, New Formations

"The magic of human life, suspended in the strife between terror and beauty, exhaustion and sustenance, carnage and carnival, has never been more fully and richly illuminated than in the priceless oeuvre of Sylvia Wynter. Thanks to Katherine McKittrick, that work receives its own full and rich illumination in a rigorous, intellectually expansive, and beautifully written set of essays that extends Wynter’s commitment to human life and the earth that bears it."
— Fred Moten, author of B Jenkins


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Price: $27.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Katherine McKittrick is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She is the author of Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

1. Yours in the Intellectual Struggle: Sylvia Wynter and the Realization of the Living / Katherine McKittrick 1

2. Unparalleled Catastrophe for Our Species? Or, to Give Humanness a Different Future: Conversations / Sylvia Wynter and Katherine McKittrick 9

3. Before Man: Sylvia Wynter's Rewriting of the Modern Episteme / Denise Ferreira da Silva 90

4. Sylvia Wynter: What Does It Mean to Be Human? / Walter D. Mignolo 106

5. Still Submerged: The Uninhabitability of Urban Redevelopment / Bench Ansfield 124

6. Axis, Bold as Love: On Sylvia Wynter, Jimi Hendrix, and the Promise of Science / Katherine McKittrick 142

7. Strategic Anti-Essentialism: Decolonizing Decolinization / Nandita Sharma 164

8. Genres of Human: Multiculturalism, Cosmo-politics, and the Caribbean Basin / Rinaldo Walcott 183

9. From Masquerade to Maskarade: Caribbean Cultural Resistance and the Rehumanizing Project / Carole Boyce Davies 203

10. "Come on Kid, Let's Go Get the Thing": The Sociogenic Principle and the Being of Being Black / Demetrius L. Eudell 226

Bibliography 249

Contributors 275

Index 277
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5834-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5820-6
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