This essay connects recent academic debates over antiblackness and the rise of new theories and methods of comparison to the movements against police violence that are gaining visibility after the protests in Ferguson, MO, arguing that they all demonstrate the fracturing of “multiculturalism” as the governing sociopolitical imagination of racial justice sponsored by U.S. global power. It reads the production of blackness and antiblackness in the Ferguson protests through a concept of “imperialism's racial justice” and reviews W.E.B. Du Bois's 1899 development of a theory and method of comparison (the “color line”) in response to lynching and imperial conquest. Arguing that the question of comparison in the present must be resolved by collective action rather than scholarship, it tentatively suggests a few possible lines of study attuned to the local and geopolitical dynamics of race and conquest.
Vince Schleitwiler; A Demonology of Comparisons: Imperialism, Justice, and Anti/Blackness. Comparative Literature 1 June 2016; 68 (2): 116–129. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-3507902
Download citation file: