Working through and against the paradigmatic history of the settler, a protagonist routinely recognized as critical to colonial, anticolonial, and postcolonial thinking, this essay offers a counterpart: the unsettler. Profiling the unsettler in a critique of the political situation that obtains in the embattled Sudanese region of Darfur, the intent here is to suggest that while the unsettler's origins (and political tendencies) are not easily distinguishable from those of his settler roots, the unsettler is a very particular instantiation of (state-sponsored) political violence. The unsettler is marked by the determination to “make”—in the process of “unmaking” the national populace, dividing one constituency from another, through deracination and physical and rhetorical attacks—the postcolonial nation a deeply discriminatory, which is to say, racially specific, construct. This essay posits the Janjawid, an especially recriminatory and bloody militia mobilized by the riverine Khartoum government against the “black Darfurians,” as the postcolonial instance through which to think about the figure of the unsettler.

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