This essay asks what kinds of theoretical paradigms are possible in a geographical space where the foundational racial split is along the fault lines of Blackness and whiteness. What other relationships are possible between communities of color in this geo-political, socio-cultural space? In keeping with this forum's emphasis on “relationality,” I argue for a turn to Blackness since it troubles the emphasis on Eurocentric ways of thinking and disrupts the linear progressive narrative with which we are all acquainted. To relate to Blackness as a deliberate choice authorizes a reconceptualization of history, culture, and politics (including, and perhaps most especially, the democratic experiment of the United States). As an example, I turn to the circuits of transmission between Black and Arab communities as a way to think through the ways Arab American immigrant narratives and conceptions of futurity shift when Blackness becomes the principal critical lens.
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Therí A. Pickens; Modern Family: Circuits of Transmission between Arabs and Blacks. Comparative Literature 1 June 2016; 68 (2): 130–140. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-3507912
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