This essay engages Yarimar Bonilla's Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment (2015) by considering one of its key throughlines: the idea of disappointment as a motivator of politics, especially non-sovereign politics. Through an ethnography of Guadeloupean labor activism, Bonilla critiques modern notions of national sovereignty as the only and inevitable product of decolonization. Provocative as it is, her account challenges the methods, periodization, and habits of Caribbean history and highlights the blind spots of European studies. But more broadly, this essay argues for the broadest application of the book's insights, which, when extended, ask whether sovereignty is a useful category for understanding the contemporary and globalized world. This is a question that remains only too timely as populist movements around the world rail against globalization in the name of national sovereignty.
Christienna D. Fryar; The Work of Disappointment. Small Axe 1 July 2017; 21 (2 (53)): 193–200. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-4156918
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