This essay interrogates rising interest in the concept of “entanglement” by Black studies scholars. Beginning with its definition in theoretical physics, the essay moves to Karen Barad’s “agential realism” to explore how diasporic ways of knowing are used to define and connect Black identities across space and time. The majority of the essay focuses on close readings of two contemporary novels on diasporic pasts, presents, and futures, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing (2016) and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s Kintu (2018), to contrast “vertical” and “horizontal” epistemologies, respectively. Although Gyasi’s novel impressively and warmly constructs a Middle Passage epistemology between the United States and West Africa, this essay argues that its reliance on vertical relations between the past, present, and future is inimical to producing an equality of relations between Black subjects. However, Makumbi’s novel, while defying traditional diasporic narrative structures by focusing on diaspora within East Africa, specifically Gandaland and Uganda, and by rejecting fixed hierarchies of relations for horizontal ones, in which all Black subjects are equally knowing and unknowing, offers a model for more equitable diasporic epistemologies in Black discourses.

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