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 Epistemology, Ethics, and the Time/Space of Decolonization: Perspectives from the Caribbean and the Latina/o Americas N E L S O N M A L D O N A D O - T O R R E S The Caribbean is a geopolitical zone characterized by colonialism, human slavery, misrecognition, and the search for liberation, among other features. It became the first site for the expression of the project of genocide, slavery, and conquest of a Christian Europe that began to change its identity precisely through such acts of violence and by notions of ‘‘discovery’’ that began to sever its dependence on a Christian framework that relied on ancient notions of geography. Enrique Dussel refers to it as the site where modern Western philosophy emerged, and we likely find there the first radical expressions of espanto (not simply fear or anxiety) and desires for liberation in the face of modern forms of colonization.1 One important feature of the Caribbean is that it is a zone formed by islands and continental territories connected by a sea. Different European empires divided these places, and they heavily, if not in some cases totally , eliminated native populations in the region. Also, Black Africans who were brought through the Middle Passage have made a strong mark in most of the Caribbean territories. Laborers from China, India, and other places in Asia also came to the region, sometimes with promises of a better life, but ending up in situations similar to slavery, if not in slavery itself. Jews and Muslims have also been present in the region for centuries , many of them escaping religious intolerance, or as slaves, as in the case of Black Muslims from West Africa. As a result of this violent history of colonialism, genocide, diaspora, and multiple migrations of different kinds, time, memory, and space are PAGE 193 ................. 18125$ $CH9 09-19-11 07:52:39 PS 194 兩 n e ls o n ma l d on a d o- t o rr e s heavily fractured in the region, rendering a shadow of illusion into projects and discourses that promise unity or fixed anchors in the past or in single cultural traditions. The de-investment in typically continental visions of cultural essence, substantiality, history, and origins is increased by the overarching presence of the sea, which connotes openness, as well as the possibility of change and exchange, escape and salvation, interrelation, as well as the infinite possibility of expanding horizons.2 Edouard Glissant has called attention to some of these features. According to John E. Drabinski, Glissant ‘‘affirms the specifically Caribbean geography of thinking, rather than rooting thought in tradition, History, or any notion that presupposes a coherent relation to the past.’’3 This Caribbean geography of thinking could be arguably distinguished from dominant themes in continental philosophies of history and related discourses , including discourses about continental unity in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. But this does not mean that prevalent themes in the Caribbean do not appear elsewhere, or that themes of continental unity do not also find a place in regions like the Caribbean. It is a question of emphasis that cannot simply be explained by geography itself, but by ways of living in those geographies and by their histories. It is in that sense that it is possible to consider mapping decolonial spatialities , and of identifying decolonial elements in multiple spatial configurations and different spatial references in multiple forms of decolonial thinking. This essay is an attempt to contribute to these efforts, which I consider part of what I have called postcontinental philosophy.4 First, I briefly spell out linkages between Frantz Fanon’s view of subjectivity and his Caribbean and migrant imaginary. I connect this with Gloria Anzaldúa’s use of the concept of borderlands and discuss how this spatial reference informs her views on subjectivity and knowledge. This is part of an effort to connect Caribbean and Latina/o, and in this case specifically Chicana, philosophical views, in particular, conceptions of space, knowledge, and self that can inform other forms of reflection. In the second part of the essay, I focus on one space or intellectual site where the decolonial views of Fanon and Anzaldúa come together, or can come together, and become rich areas of investigation and reflection. This space is known as ethnic studies, with multiple fields, including African American and Africana studies, Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies, Latina/o studies , and Native American studies, among others. These...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780823249343
Related ISBN
9780823241361
MARC Record
OCLC
787845994
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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