This essay argues that a noncontingent, nonexclusionary notion of humanity’s oneness—constituted through difference rather than denying it—provides a principled foundation for social renewal and repair at all social scales. This foundation of human oneness is essential to overcoming the insecure conceptual foundations of modern social identities and their injurious, conflict-engendering effects, as well as addressing the urgent challenges confronting the planet. In effect, given our species and planetary interconnectedness, processes of social regeneration from the local to the global must be congruent, undertaken simultaneously, and grounded in our noncontingent humanness. Building on the author’s critique of the stultifying impact of racial and national modes of belonging in his Postnationalism Prefigured (2002), and in dialogue with the work of David Scott, Deborah Thomas, and other critics of the postcolonial Caribbean gathered for the symposium marking the book’s twentieth anniversary, the essay discusses other closely interconnected historical legacies in Jamaica and the Caribbean—relatively low levels of trust and weak social institutions—that, along with race-thinking, hinder the reconstitution of social life.

You do not currently have access to this content.