Against the backdrop of the summer 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this article thinks about that event as indexing a crisis of US political theology, indeed, as a volatile flashpoint wherein the sacred comes into view otherwise. Here the sacred figures as the incalculable whose history is that of a something else, somewhere else. Nowhere. Without representation and thus in rapture from the terms of order, from politicality’s god terms, the sacred registers as murmur or tremor, a lyric landscape of bass (and base) insubordination exceeding all “worlding.” This article approaches what hovers beyond and beneath, ethereally above or as a kind of wormhole through the political as we know it, for it was this beyond or more-than that in subversion of constituted order, arguably, aroused the white nationalist rally in the first place as a violent secondary, counterrevolutionary reaction. Working within black (religious) studies, this article considers the sacred as proximately black, where the sacred here signals that frenzied surplus whose sociopoetic force discloses another horizon of existence beyond the terms of order. This practice of a sacral blackness I here think about under the rubric of “black malpractice” as a poetics of the sacred. Among the interlocutors are Georges Bataille, Nathaniel Mackey, Dawn Lundy Martin, Fred Moten, Cedric Robinson, Denise Ferreira da Silva, and Sylvia Wynter.
Black Malpractice (A Poetics of the Sacred)
J. Kameron Carter is professor of religious studies at Indiana University. He is author of Race: A Theological Account (2008). His manuscript in progress, “Black Rapture: A Poetics of the Sacred,” is in the final stages of completion.
J. Kameron Carter; Black Malpractice (A Poetics of the Sacred). Social Text 1 June 2019; 37 (2): 67–107. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-7370991
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