By expanding the frame of Paul Gilroy's post-9/11 intervention in Postcolonial Melancholia to include post–Hurricane Katrina discourse, this essay aims to more specifically elaborate the present moment—Gilroy's “postcolonial present”—as a space and time in which to combat the globalization of racial thought in its latest civilizationist guise. To establish this present moment as the contested future of the long tradition of antiracist humanism outlined by Gilroy, the essay draws on the thought of Erich Auerbach and C. L. R. James to develop a schema that firmly anchors this tradition in its figural relationship to past becomings. Where this philosophical tradition intersects with current examples of antiracist activism, figurations of cosmopolitan dissidence produce flashes of postrace fulfillment that disrupt the emerging totalitarianisms of thought that would perpetuate an ordering of the globe along racial lines. Though these flashes contain hope for a world-to-come, the essay calls for a corresponding cosmopolitan vision that is not blinded by this global promise, but is willing to see through it to confront the fractured local ground of the postcolonial present that is already underfoot.
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Matthew Suazo; Figures of Cosmopolitanism in the Postcolonial Present. boundary 2 1 May 2010; 37 (2): 187–198. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2010-008
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