“This article turns to a constellation of thinkers (Black feminists like Katherine McKittrick and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, as well as decolonial thinkers like Sylvia Wynter) to read Mbembe’s conception of necropower in a way that retrieves the implications of thinking about necropolitics as an entangled totality of death-making. I offer this reading specifically to theorize how, within, and against that totality of death-making, zones of Black livingness persist and sustain themselves against the anti-Black logics of necropower (logics that I will describe as algorithmic in nature)…As a metaphor, the “algorithmic” allows me to highlight that Blackness as social death, though not ontological, points to a sociopolitical field that unfolds as “a process or set of [anti-Black] rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations” as these calculations pertain to problematics of Black life. Hence, the frame of the algorithmic underscores the intractable nature of necropower’s anti-Blackness. With this frame in mind, one can then ask how modalities of Black livingness persist despite and against such totalizing computations. What (in other words) is the nature of the “total” in necropower’s totalizing production of Black death?”

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living plots
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Living plots in the stone-time of necropolitics

Necropolitical arrangements of bifurcations delineate those onto- logical antagonisms that code Blackness as ontological lack (as non-position). In this article, I attempt to think about this evacuation of being in terms of the necropolitical’s fleshy excess, as what Alexander Weheliye’s work names “habeus viscus.” In so doing, I explore the implications, for our understanding of the “repressed proximities” of which the necropolitical consists, of arrangements that always-already include entanglements with their fleshy excess. In other words, if the nonposition of the excluded is always positioned within, then living in/against the death-logics of necropolitics is always happening from that “non-position within.” Hence, a reading of Achille Mbembe’s account of necropolitics must reckon with what Katherine McKittrick names “the creative consequences of the plot and the plantation,” with the implications of the inextricable proximal entanglements between the killing of life and the living that persists, despite. This article focuses on this “living despite.” Through a constellation of thinkers like Katherine McKittrick, Alexander Weheliye, and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (to name a few), it aims to show that there are, perhaps, other futures that are already “now,” shattering what Édouard Glissant refers to as the “stone of time,” shattering (necropolitical) history as destiny.

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