This article argues that Frank B. Wilderson’s political ontology can be read as both a critique and a radicalization of Giorgio Agamben’s formal political-ontological framework constructed around the two extreme poles of sovereignty and bare life. Wilderson critiques and expands Agamben’s framework by locating the zero point of political abjection not within bare life, which is still implicated within the ontological zone of Human being by way of an included exclusion, but within Black social death, which is cut off absolutely from Human being. While such a political ontological framework provides an extremely powerful optic for the absolute ontological abjection of Black existence in relation to all other racial positions in the modern West, its absolute prioritization limits the scope of an analysis of power relations that might offer an account of racial positioning that is both broader than and resistant to the political ontology of Western race relations. In conclusion, turning to Fred Moten’s Black optimism and Deleuze’s and Guattari’s account of micropolitics and lines of flight, the article argues for a pragmatics of resistance that finds its practical condition of possibility within the micropolitical field of power relations that marks an excess to the anti-Black macropolitics of political ontology.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 51-69
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.