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This essay contends that the concepts of bare life and biopolitics severely limit how we understand current uneven global power structures and foreclose the possibility of their abolition. Bare life and biopolitics discourse not only misconstrues the deep anchoring of race and racism in the modern idea of the human; it also overlooks or perfunctorily dismisses theorizations of race, subjection, and humanity found in black and ethnic studies. The essay posits black feminist theories of modern humanity as exemplified by the work of Hortense Spillers and Sylvia Wynter as useful correctives to the bare life and biopolitics discourse exemplified by the work of Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault to reveal the pressing need to make the insights of ethnic studies and black feminism foundational to the study of modern humanity.

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