This essay was originally drafted for a twenty-year retrospective on Charles Carnegie’s Postnationalism Prefigured (2002). Reflecting on her own ethnographic research, the author takes up two of the book’s insights. The first unsettles national sovereignty as an essentializing horizon of justice that defangs rebellious ancestors. Instead, Carnegie attends to the unsettled spatiotemporal logic of past struggle, as echoed by contemporary border transgressions of everyday archipelagic life. From this, the author reconsiders the spatiotemporality of land claims based on belonging “here” rather than on property. The second insight holds essentialism to account for the tropes through which Black nation-states are read. From this she asks, might it be that an enforcer who does not enforce is anticolonial, leveraging chinks in the plantation logic of the law?

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