Toward a Somatic Theory of Necropower
The coda closes Becoming Human with a consideration of recent developments in the biological sciences and biotechnology that have turned their attention to narrating the problem of “racial health disparity” in reproductive health. I suggest that work on the epigenome, mostly housed in the regulatory sciences—epidemiology and public health—possesses contradictory potential and thus uncertain possibilities with respect to (dis)articulating the antiblack logics that have conditioned the symbiosis of teleological determinism and evolutionary thought (whereby a developmental conception of “the human” is only one of its most obvious instantiations). Bringing the epigenome in conversation with my theory of ontologized plasticity, I argue that Mutu’s aesthetic strategies, along with those of Legae, Douglass, Morrison, Hopkinson, and Lorde featured in Becoming Human, reveal a potential (with neither guarantee nor a manifest horizon of possibility—but a potential, nonetheless) for mutation beyond a mode of thought and representation that continually adheres to predefined rules and narratives that legitimate antiblack ordering and premature death.
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