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Becoming HumanMatter and Meaning in an Antiblack World$
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Zakiyyah Iman Jackson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479890040

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479890040.001.0001

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Sense of Things

Sense of Things

Empiricism and World in Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring

(p.83) 2 Sense of Things
Becoming Human

Zakiyyah Iman Jackson

NYU Press

Chapter 2 is a reading of Nalo Hopkinson’s 1999 Locus Award–winning near-future novel Brown Girl in the Ring. Becoming Human avers that gendered antiblack metaphysics continues to subtend scales of world among humans, animals, and objects in Martin Heidegger’s still highly influential thought, despite being imagined as a corrective to previous scales, such as the scalae nauturae or the Great Chain of Being examined in chapter 1. It explores what other sense of world becomes available in spaces of abjection and the unthought. This chapter also argues that the absent presence of the black female figure functions as an interposition that subtends and therefore paradoxically holds the potential to topple the logic of this schema and investigates how, as a consequence of this system’s imperialist worldmaking and monopolization of sense, the matter of the black female body is vertiginously affected. An inquiry into onto-epistemology, this chapter explores the reciprocal production of aesthesis and empiricism, both the seemingly scientific and the perceptual knowledge that signifies otherwise under conditions of imperial Western humanism.

Keywords:   Nalo Hopkinson, empiricism, thing, object, worlding, world, blackness, gender, Martin Heidegger, metaphysics

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