Locating the Postcolonial Ideal

A reflection on Diagne’s practice of reading and interpretation, and how it reckons with the colonial past.

Sites of Relation and Toute-Monde

An essay on the later Glissant and how he reconfigures notions of relation in a globalized context.

Race, Alterity, Dialectics

Speculative and analytical piece on how race and alterity in Levinas, Fanon, and Baldwin disrupt notions of dialectics.

Poetics of Beautiful Blackness

Reflection on Baldwin and the Négritude movement, with emphasis on how both articulate blackness as beauty.

Deconstruction as Diaspora

Exploration of how Derrida’s notion of deconstruction as anti-colonial practice is important for understanding his diaspora identity.

Frantz Fanon” (9200 words)

A philosophical overview of Frantz Fanon’s work with a few autobiographic details for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

“Intimacies, Supplements, Entanglements”

A critical engagement with Zahi Zalloua’s book Continental Philosophy and the Palestinian Question, focused on issues of decolonization.

Reproduction and the Universal in Glissant’s Later Work

A consideration of Glissant in the context of Althusser’s and Balibar’s notions of ideology, the state, and the conditions of social-political reproduction.

Anxieties of Influence in the Black Atlantic

Critical account of how the question of influence functions in black Atlantic theory, with particular focus on Senghor and Brathwaite.

Incarnate Historiography and the Politics of Our Faces

Working from Levinas and Chris Abani, an account of how the face signifies politics and political debt, drawn from a world of racialized difference.

Césaire’s Apocalyptic Word

An argument that Césaire’s conception of Négritude in the New World context entails an apocalyptic vision of the world, without which liberation is impossible.

Orality and the Slave Sublime

Exploration of the intersection of early African-American conceptions of the Spirituals with Glissant’s notion of creolization, framed by Gilroy’s critical apparatus.

Baldwin’s Three Africans

An essay tracking Baldwin’s turn away from the question of Africa and and how that turn away illuminates his sense of Americanness.

Senghor’s Anxiety of Influence

A reading of a series of short pieces by the early Senghor that articulate his theory of influence and assimilation from the perspective of African-centered thought.

Baldwin and the Private Life of Resistance

A short piece examining how for Baldwin interstitial cultural politics form not only an everyday sense of resistance, but a sense of world outside the white gaze.

Aesthetics and the Abyss

A long meditation on Glissant’s aesthetics in relation to his notion of the abyss, contrasted with the historical dispute between Césaire and Lamming.

Vernaculars of Home

Critical reflection on Baldwin’s conception of “black English,” a defense of which entails, for him, an account of language’s relation to history and memory.

Levinas as Traveling Theory

Reflection on the limits and possibilities of moving Levinasian ethics across racialized borders, historical spaces, and memorial sites.

Poetics of the Mangrove

A conceptualization of the mangrove as critical figure in Glissant’s poetry and non-fiction, with focus on the shoreline as Caribbeanness.

Elsewhere of Home: Race, Nation, and Monolingualism

A comparative essay on how home and language function in the European and Caribbean contexts, with emphasis on questions of linguistic purity of origin.

Reconciliation and Founding Wounds

An exploration of the meaning of reconciliation in the United States, with particular attention to Baldwin, Derrida, and the founding wounds of the nation.

“‘That Gesture of Recognition’An Interview with Salomón Lerner Febres”

Interview with Salomón Lerner Febres, lead commissioner of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, on methods and lessons from the TRC.

Fanon’s Two Memories

An account of how Fanon’s notion of a new humanism requires forms of forgetting, and how such forgetting is troubled by the sub-Saharan African context.

Aesthetics and the Abyss

A reflection on Glissant’s aesthetics framed by a discussion of Césaire and Lamming (reprinted in Theorizing Glissant: Sites and Citations).

Affect and Revolution: On Baldwin and Fanon

An examination of shame as constitutive affect in Baldwin and Fanon in the context of formulating racialized conceptions of revolution.

Levinas, Race, Racism

A long introductory piece to a volume on Levinasian thinking in the context of postcolonial studies and critical race theory.

Vernacular Solidarity: On Gilroy’s Appropriation of Levinas

An essay on Paul Gilroy’s translation of Levinasian ethics and conception of the Other in the context of animality, the infrahuman, and postcolonial notions of race.

Future Interval: On Levinas and Glissant

Reflections on notions of trauma, identity, fecundity, and futurity in Levinas and Glissant, emphasizing differences that come from memory and historical experience.

Shorelines: In Memory of Édouard Glissant

A memorial piece, reflecting on Édouard Glissant’s life and work with particular focus on the meaning of the shoreline in his poetry and poetics.

What is Trauma to the Future? On Glissant’s Poetics

Critical reconstruction of Glissant’s notion of trauma, memory, and the formation of Caribbean culture and cultural politics.

Philosophy as a Kind of Cinema

Introductory piece to a volume on Jean-Luc Godard, exploring the possibilities for thinking borne by sound and image in Godard’s work.

Beginning’s Abyss

An exploration of trauma and beginning, deploying Levinasian vocabulary to think about the alterity of the past and how its pain forms senses of futurity.

Who are his poor? Reading Levinas with Rancière

An essay exploring the relevance of Rancière’s work for Levinasian ethics and conceptions of ethical politics.

Separation, Difference, and Time in Godard’s Ici et ailleurs

A theorization of sound and image in Godard’s documentary film about a failed documentary of the 1970 intifada, thinking about the visuality of alterity and nation.

Reconsidering Adorno

A reading of Adorno’s early work on phenomenology with a view toward how he later thinks through modernity, memory, and catastrophe.

Subjectivity and the Problem of Political Debt

An argument that a reconfiguration of Levinasian temporality and embodiment allows us to account for senses of radical responsibility and political justice.

The Everyday Miracle of the Occasional Community

A popular culture piece reflecting on the Grateful Dead parking lot scene’s sense of community, using Werner Marx’s thought to draw out broader lessons about belonging and meaning.

The Enigma of the Cartesian Infinite

An essay on Levinas and Marion as readers of Descartes, with attention to the function of the infinite, the language of God, and the constitution of subjectivity.

Wealth and Justice in a U-topian Context

A reading of Levinas as a thinker of ethical politics through his encounter with Paul Celan’s poetics, in particular the conception of utopia as time-out-of-joint and asymmetrical social space.

The Possibility of an Ethical Politics: From Peace to Liturgy

My first foray into Levinas’ politics, arguing that his emphasis on ethics blocks his work from attending to the complexity of our embodied presence to others. Reprinted in Emmanuel Levinas: Critical Assessments, Volume Four, ed. Claire Katz (Routledge 2005)

Sense and Icon: The Problem of Sinngebung in Levinas and Marion

Explores the notion of sense-bestowal from the outside and how this notion works across Levinas’ and Marion’s work. Reprinted in Emmanuel Levinas: Critical Assessments, Volume Two, ed. Claire Kats (Routledge 2005).

From Representation to Materiality

A critical reading of Levinas’ early essays on phenomenology and how they establish the methodological grounding for his emerging work on the face, ethics, and exteriority.

“Experience as Flesh: On Merleau-Ponty and James”

A comparative analysis of the later Merleau-Ponty’s notion of the flesh of the world and James’ conception of radical empiricism, with attention to how both locate knowledge inside materiality.

The Hither-Side of the Living-Present in Levinas and Husserl

An account of how Levinas’ work draws heavily from Husserl’s early phenomenology of time, in particular how the thickness of the living-present bears within it the structure and significance of trace, memory, and impression.

The Status of the Transcendental in Levinas’ Thought

An argument for Levinas as a transcendental philosopher, focused on the role intentionality as a founding structure, grounded in impressions and passivity, in the phenomenological dimensions of his thought.

Radical Empiricism and Phenomenology: Philosophy and the Pure Stuff of Experience

A comparative reading of Husserl and James, working from Richard Cobb-Stevens’ argument for the phenomenological dimensions of racial empiricism. I emphasize the account of the thickness of experience in Husserl and James.

Husserl’s Critique of Empiricism and the Phenomenological Account of Reflection

A discussion of Husserl’s critique of empiricism in Logical Investigations and how the critique forms his innovative and nuanced conception of phenomenological reflection.

“Between Representation and Being”

An essay on Husserl and Levinas, exploring their intersections and differences under the rubric of representation and what it means to think subjectivity as time. Published in the now defunct journal Skepteon.



Donna Jones, The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism, and Modernity

A review of Donna Jones’ book The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy, with particular attention to how her book both does and does not explore the key issue in thinking comparatively in the black Atlantic: what is influence?

Richard Cohen, Elevations: Height of the Good in Rosenzweig and Levinas

A review of Richard Cohen’s book Elevations, which argues for a continuity between Rosenzweig and Levinas, and in my remarks I argue the need for a stronger phenomenological grounding of Levinas’ thought lest he become consigned to “the religious.”

Kathleen Haney, Intersubjectivity Revisted: Phenomenology and the Other

A review of Kathleen Haney’s Intersubjectivity Revisited, which explores the meaning of otherness in Husserl’s early and middle works. I offer critical reflection from a Levinasian perspective, arguing that Husserl misses key opportunities to deepen his understanding of alterity.