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Extravagant AbjectionBlackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination$
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Darieck Scott

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740941

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740941.001.0001

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Extravagant Abjection

(p.257) Conclusion
Extravagant Abjection

Darieck Scott

NYU Press

This concluding chapter summarizes the book's main themes and presents some final thoughts. This book addresses three familiar tenets of “identity” analysis: (i) blackness is a construction, not an essence, which serves to shore up white identity and superiority; (ii) categories of race are intimately connected to categories of gender and sexuality; and (iii) philosophy needs literature to embody, and thereby better envision, its concepts. It aligns with the subordinated term of each tenet (black, gay, literary), which results in, and necessitates, a black power that theorizes from, not against, the special intimacy of blackness with abjection, humiliation, defeat. Affirming this form of black power keeps its subjects from being (re)subjectified to an identity politics that, in its penchant for strong ego formations, ultimately serves white, masculinist, retrogressive nationalist, and heteronormative regimes. In this sense, the book tries to recover the revolutionary promise of 1960s Fanonian theoretical formulations and the Black Power and Black Arts Movements' appropriations of those formulations by aligning itself psychically, not just politically, with the experience of being on the bottom of every psychosocial hierarchy. It posits a counterintuitive black power—a way of having, doing, and being blackness, with its myriad possibilities of political organization and for social romance—without necessarily having also to have a racial ego.

Keywords:   black power, blackness, abjection, humiliation, defeat, gay, racial ego

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