Privacy, coloniality, identity

Here are my remarks from the roundtable discussion on James Baldwin and Privacy at the American Studies Association meeting in Los Angeles. They are short (a 5-8 minute slot), but I try here to think about colonialism as hyper-visibility and publicity and how Baldwin’s conception of Black cultural formation in the United States operates with…

Baldwin, language, blackness

In “Letter on Humanism,” a letter written to French theorist Jean Beaufret in response to the claim that his book Being and Time did not contain an ethics, Martin Heidegger famously remarks that “language is the house of Being.” This is a signature moment in Heidegger’s work, one that (roughly) shifts his work from the…

Trouble and Death

I’m writing and thinking about two passages. The first is an old 1920s blues and string band lyric, one that has many variations, but comes down to this turn of phrase: If trouble don’t kill me I believe I’ll never die The lyric comes up a lot in profoundly sad and mournful songs, of course,…