This essay draws on Jovan Scott Lewis’s Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica (2020), a rich ethnographic study of lottery scammers in Jamaica and the ethical logic they use to justify scamming as a form of reparations, to think about the limits of Black reparative claims. Specifically, it draws on various theorizings of Black insurgent life to explore the inherent challenges in engendering a radical politics of change premised around principles of repair, alterity, and fugitivity. The author argues that theorizing Blackness and, by extension, Black repair necessitates exploring questions of the unimaginable, the liminal, and the otherwise.
The (Im)Possibility of Black Repair
Kevon Rhiney is assistant professor in the Department of Geography, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford and taught for several years at the University of the West Indies, Mona. His research is situated at the nexus of critical development studies, decolonial thought, and human-environment geography.
Kevon Rhiney; The (Im)Possibility of Black Repair. Small Axe 1 March 2022; 26 (1 (67)): 181–190. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-9724177
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