This essay attempts to think anticolonialism as theory. It does so by first embracing the role of metaphor in the contemporary discourse on decolonization. Then, turning to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, it models a way of re-reading the promise of anticolonial freedom attuned to the alternative conceptions of decolonization that persist in the wake of past struggles. Reading with Fanon and, subsequently, with Achille Mbembe in his revision of the former’s political vision, the essay traces the temporalities that converge under the sign of decolonization in search of what hidden potentials remain at hand.
Heliology: On the Metaphor of Decolonization
NIJAH CUNNINGHAM is Assistant Professor of English at Hunter College, CUNY. His teaching and research focus on African American and African diaspora literatures and culture. Through a transnational approach to Black literary studies and a critical archival practice, his current book project, Quiet Dawn, argues for a renewed consideration of pan-Africanism as practice. His writing has appeared in venues such as Art Journal, Small Axe, New Inquiry, Women and Performance, Current Anthropology, ASAP/Journal, and PMLA. He is the author of numerous catalogue essays on artists such as Charles White, Oliver Jackson, Jennie C. Jones, and Samuel Levi Jones.
Nijah Cunningham; Heliology: On the Metaphor of Decolonization. Representations 1 May 2023; 162 (1): 44–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2023.162.4.44
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