Fugitive Modernities and Geographies of Reputation: Black Histories and Gender outside the State

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 10:30 AM
Salon 1 (Palmer House Hilton)
Jessica Krug, George Washington University
I interrogate the ramifications of turning our backs on the (Black) Atlantic, and reconceiving Black histories through the intellectual and political paradigms of fugitives, or those who created novel political and social forms and rejected state and capital during the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Based on more than three years of ethnographic, oral historical, archival, and linguistic research in Angola, Brazil, Colombia, Portugal, and Spain, my concepts of fugitive modernities and insistence on working within geographies of reputation, rather than of mobile merchant capital and the violence it wrought, allow us to engage Black political imagination outside of and in opposition to states. Those who were identified and came to identify as Kisama in Angola never shared a linguistic or cultural background – the depoliticized markers of identity around which generations of scholars of the African Diaspora/Black Atlantic have organized their work – and eschewed centralization and engagement with capital economies for more than four centuries. However, in a region and era in which violence and militarization were endemic, those who forged Kisama, often in conflict with each other, rejected violence and masculine warrior identities as a social paradigm even as their skill in guerilla warfare enabled their survival. These political ideologies and the reputation of Kisama travelled to the Americas and Europe, and circulated for more than four hundred years. I explore the global geography of reputation forged by the fugitives whose modernity and political imagination outside the state constitute a critical history and futurity of Black political imagination.
Previous Presentation | Next Presentation >>