Abyssal Beginnings: Glissant, Philosophy, and the Middle Passage (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2018). This book offers a systematic treatment of Édouard Glissant’s poetics, with particular focus on the Middle Passage as a philosophical event. Across the book, I argue that Glissant’s conception of the abyss threads together his various meditations on time, memory, subjectivity, aesthetics, and the possibilities of intellectual work. CONTENTS – Preface / Introduction: Between Europe and the Americas / 1. Origins I: Memory, Root, Abyss / 2. Origins II: Memory, Future, Abyss / 3. Ontology of an Abyssal Subject / 4. Aesthetics of an Abyssal Subject / 5. Thinking and Building: What is an Intellectual?
What is the Afro-Postmodern? (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, under consideration). This work is a meta-reflection on the wider significance of the work done in Abyssal Beginnings, theorizing how the afro-Caribbean experience of beginning, time, and futurity, with particular emphasis on processes of cultural production, is a distinctive form of the postmodern. In particular, I argue across the book that the emergence of the afro-postmodern is contemporaneous with the emergence of European modernity in the black Americas. CONTENTS – 1. Theorizing the Postmodern, Again / 2. From Euro- to Afro-Postmoderns: Geographies of Reason / 3. Nation Language, Creole Différance / 4. Anti-Epics and Creolizing Histoire / 5. The Other and the Repeating Island / 6. Nation, Race, Fragment / 7. Poiesis and the Future
‘So Unimaginable a Price‘: Baldwin and the Black Atlantic (under contract with Northwestern University Press). In this book, I attempt to reframe the terms of reading James Baldwin’s non-fiction with a specific set of philosophical interests. With chapters on memory, time, affect, dialectics, and the complexity of racial identity, I demonstrate the theoretical rigor with which Baldwin articulated the specificity of African-American identity, both as characteristics distinctive of ‘a people’ and as distinctively American. The key innovation of the project lies in reading Baldwin’s non-fiction in its mid-century black Atlantic moment, a moment in which his work intersects (in great tension) with important thinkers from the era, including Aimé Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, Léopold Senghor, and other theorists of independence and decolonization. CONTENTS – Introduction / 1. Race as Memory and History / 2. 3-2-1; or, Toward the Unimaginable Negro / 3. Affect and the Afterlife of Memory / 4. Vernacular as Remnant and Life / 5. The Unimaginable Price of Home / 6. The Possibility of an Afro-Optimism
Levinas and the Postcolonial: Race, Nation, Other (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011). This book places Levinas’ work on difference and the ethical in conversation with postcolonial engagements with the same. Through readings of Spivak, Bhabha, Glissant, Marcos, and others, I argue that Levinas’ work is too dependent upon his idea of Europe. As well, I argue that notions of subalternity, hybridity, entanglement, and rhizome all imply a certain relation to the ethical that, through a decolonization of his thought, one can retrieve in Levinas’ work. Reviewed at: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, Studies in Social and Political Thought, Journal of Postcolonial Studies. (Received Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book in Caribbean Thought.) CONTENTS – Preface / Introduction: Decolonizing Levinasian Ethics / 1. Incarnate Historiography and the Problem of Method / 2. Epistemological Fracture / 3. Ontology of Fracture / 4. Ethics of Entanglement / 5. Decolonizing Levinasian Politics / Concluding Remarks
Godard Between Identity and Difference (New York: Continuum, 2008). This book situates a handful of Godard’s films from the late sixties and seventies within the debate between Levinas and Derrida. In particular, it asks how Godard’s conception and practice of cinematic language might intervene in the paradox of difference: that alterity must be brought to presence, even when that presence is a betrayal of difference. CONTENTS – Preface / Introduction: Cinema as a Kind of Philosophy / 1. The Other on Loan: Two or Three Things I Know About Her / 2. Dead-Time and the Image in Ici et ailleurs / 3. The Cinematic Empiricism of Comment ça va? / 4. Second, Third: Numéro Deux / 5. Histoire(s) of Memory
Sensibility and Singularity (Albany: SUNY Press, 2001). This book argues that the central influence and site of legitimation in Levinas’ work is Husserl’s phenomenology. Through close readings of Levinas’ work, I demonstrate how Husserlian phenomenology functions as the horizon in which Levinas’ work works, which in turn gives Levinas a language for legitimating what are, on first glance, a series of speculative assertions. CONTENTS – Introduction / 1. Unsuspected Horizons: On the Husserl Question / 2. The Subject Outside Itself: Transcendence and Materiality in the 1940s and 1950s / 3. The Subject in Question: Relation and Sense in Totality and Infinity / 4. Sensation, Trace, Enigma: Rethinking Sensibility in the 1960s / 5. Impressions of Sense: Materiality in Otherwise than Being
Jean Bernabé, Patrick Chamoiseau, & Raphael Confiant, In Praise of Creoleness, ed. and trs. John E. Drabinski (under contract with SUNY press). Translation and critical introduction. This project translates the famous Martiniquan manifesto on the concept of créolité, first published in 1989. In addition to the manifesto, this book will include an interview with all three authors published in Transition under the title “Créolité Bites” and also single interviews with Confiant and with Chamoiseau. The introduction situates the manifesto in relation to the surrealist, existentialist, syncretic, and post-structuralist trends in Caribbean and black Atlantic thought that precede it.
Theorizing Glissant: Sites and Citations, eds. John E. Drabinski and Marisa Parham (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015)
Introduction: Glissant, Creolizing Philosophy (John E. Drabinski and Marisa Parham) / 1. Glissant’s Opacité and the Re-Conceptualization of Identity (H. Adlai Murdoch) / 2. In Citation to the Chance: Glissant, Citation, Intention, and Interpretation (Seanna Sumalee Oakley) / 3. Glissant’s Existential Ontology of Difference (Clevis Headley) / 4. Toward a Sexual Difference Theory of Creolization (Max Hantel) / 5. The Ripening’s Epic Realism and the Martinican Tragic Unfulfilled Political Emancipation (Hanétha Vété-Congolo) / 6. Breadfruit, Time and Again: Glissant Reads Faulkner in the World Relation (Marisa Parham) / 7. Aesthetics and the Abyss: Between Césaire and Lamming (John E. Drabinski)
Between Levinas and Heidegger, eds. John E. Drabinski and Eric S. Nelson (Albany: SUNY Press, 2014)
Introduction (John E. Drabinski and Eric S. Nelson) / 1. Critique, Power, and Ontological Violence: The Problem of “First” Philosophy (Ann Murphy) / 2. Dreaming Otherwise than Icarus: Heidegger, Levinas, and the Secularization of Transcendence (Philip J. Maloney) / 3. Heidegger, Levinas, and the Other of History (Eric S. Nelson) / 4. The Sincerity of the Saying (Didier Franck, Translated by Robert Vallier) / 5. Time’s Disquiet and Unrest: the Affinity between Heidegger and Levinas (Emilia Angelova) / 6. Originary Inauthenticity: On Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit (Simon Critchley) / 7. Levinas and Heidegger: Ethics or Ontology? (Françoise Dastur) / 8. Useless Sacrifice (Robert Bernasconi) / 9. The Question of Responsibility between Levinas and Heidegger (François Raffoul) / 10. Displaced: Phenomenology and Belonging in Levinas and Heidegger (Peter E. Gordon) / 11. Which Other, Whose Alterity? The Human after Humanism (Krzysztof Ziarek) / 12. Elsewhere of Home (John E. Drabinski)
Levinas Studies: An Annual Review (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2012). Special issue on Levinas, Race, and Racism.
Introduction to Levinas, Race, and Racism (John E. Drabinski) / 1. Fecundity and Natal Alienation (Lisa Guenther) / 2. Face to Face with the Other Other (Simone Drichel) / 3. Eurocentrism and Colorblindness (Oona Eisenstadt) / 4. Levinas’ Hegemonic Identity Politics (Nelson Maldonado-Torres) / 5. Ethics in the Absence of Reference (Mary Gallagher) /6. Eros in Infinity and Totality (Anjali Prabhu) / 7. Levinas, Sartre, and the Question of Solidarity (Kris Sealey) / 8. Vernacular Solidarity (John E. Drabinski) / 9. Rightlessness (Grant Farred)