Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Kirby Hall of Civil Rights 104
Dr. J. Kameron Carter, Duke Divinity School

Blackness bespeaks a politics that's out of this world, one that outsings the violent, politically dystopian “Trump/ets” of this one. The question, however, is, How do we attend to its music? How do we hear the joyous noise, the sonic substance of that other world, those bass notes and rituals of insubordination that point to alternative terms of prophetic organization? Thinking with M. NourbeSe Philip’s poetry collection Zong!, this talk engages these questions by working through the sociopoetics internal to the frenzied speech or the maternal tongues of the poems. Beyond ownership, before and after propertied self-possession, speaking in oceanic and atmospheric tongues that register in the fractured caress and the wounded care of the poems's discomposed and decomposing words, the ungendered “marental” voice of the poems announces another world, one that holds us. “Held, not had.” It announces black feminist ecologies of social life, a refugitive commune-ism, shall we say. What emerges from Zong! then, and what this talk thinks about, is Zong!’s urgent antepolitics or sociopoetics of joy, its insurgent ecstatics of the sacred.


Dr. J. Kameron Carter is a Professor at Duke Divinity School. He works in black studies (African American and African Diaspora studies), using theological and religious studies concepts, critical theory, and increasingly poetry in doing so. Driving his work are questions pertaining to the theory and practice of blackness, indeed, of blackness as an alternate "pedagogy of the sacred" that the black church (at its best) expresses.


Dr. Carter's book Race: A Theological Account appeared in 2008 (New York: Oxford UP). He is the editor of Religion and the Future of Blackness (a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, 2013). He has two books near completion: God’s Property: Blackness and the Problem of Sovereignty and Postracial Blues: Religion and the Twenty-First Century Color Line.

Sponsored by: 
Office of Intercultural Development and Office of Religious and Spiritual Life

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Danialie Fertile