“Black Metamorphosis,” Sylvia Wynter's unpublished manuscript of the 1970s, is premised on the idea that the black experience of coloniality is crucial to comprehending the history of the New World. This essay traces the idea of black experience in “Black Metamorphosis” through the figure of the non-norm, a central category for Wynter throughout the manuscript. The black presence in the New World is subterranean but omnipresent, fugitive but hypervisible, condemned as the non-norm and nonperson but the foundation for the concept of free citizenship in the Americas. Black experience is crucial; without it the ideological fictions of the contemporary world order that consign the vast majority of its population to a subhuman status remain uncontested and grow every generation in weight and power.

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