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Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis

Edited by
Katherine McKittrick
Katherine McKittrick

Katherine McKittrick is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She is the author of Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7585-2
Publication date:
2015
Book Chapter

Before Man: Sylvia Wynter’s Rewriting of the Modern Episteme

By
Denise Ferreira da Silva
Denise Ferreira da Silva
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Published:
January 2015

This essay discusses the colonial dimensions Sylvia Wynter’s writings paying specific attention to how her research provides an account of racial difference that can be read alongside, and in tension with, Michel Foucault’s The Order of Things. The essay indicates how Wynter recuperates what remains illegible in Foucault’s critique of Man. More specifically, the essay traces how Wynter deploys coloniality to rewrite the Classical Order (where Foucault locates the “table of identities and differences”), how she rewrites Foucault’s description of modern episteme, and how her conceptualization of the human displaces Kantian and Hegelian transcendentality.

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