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Hegel, Antiblackness, and Political Identity


Hegel, Antiblackness, and Political Identity

A formidable critical project on the limits of antiracist philosophy.

Exploring anxieties raised by Atlantic slavery in radical enlightenment literature concerned about political unfreedom in Europe, Metaracial argues that Hegel's philosophy assuages these anxieties for the left. Interpreting Hegel beside Rousseau, Kant, Mary Shelley, and Marx, Terada traces Hegel's transposition of racial hierarchy into a hierarchy of stances toward reality. By doing so, she argues, Hegel is simultaneously antiracist and antiblack. In dialogue with Black Studies, psychoanalysis, and critical theory, Metaracial offers a genealogy of the limits of antiracism.

224 pages | 1 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2023

Black Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Philosophy: Philosophy of Society, Political Philosophy

Political Science: Political and Social Theory


“Behind the ‘subject slave,’ universally human by virtue of the dialectic, there is a second slave hiding, the Black slave. Deconstructing this trope in Hegel, Terada reveals the philosophical sources of an embarrassing paradox—antiblack antiracism—which continuously affects political radicalism. An elucidation which is demanding but also fascinating and hugely clarifying!”

Étienne Balibar, author of 'Citizen Subject: Foundations for Philosophical Anthropology'

Metaracial offers a counterintuitive claim: antiracism is antiblack. Terada teaches us to look for Hegel, Kant, and Rousseau where we least expect to find them—even in the most radical iterations of Black thought. Her philosophical readings are invigorating, careful, and insightful—laboring in the interstice between Black thought and continental philosophy. A substantial contribution to philosophies of race and contemporary debates about Black subjectivity.”

Calvin Warren, author of 'Ontological Terror: Blackness, Nihilism, and Emancipation'

Table of Contents

List of Translations and Abbreviations

Part 1: Metaracial Logic
Prologue to Part 1
§ 1                   The Metaracial
Negativity and Racialism
Hegel’s Colonial Opening
Nonrelation and Coerced Relation
Blank Reflections
§ 2                   Metaracial Logic and Nationalism
§ 3                   Around Political Identity: Master, Slave, Bondsman, Objects
Hegel’s Slave Protagonist
Negativity and Threshold
“Independent Objects”

Part 2: Romanticism and the Impossibility of Slavery
Prologue to Part 2
§ 4                   After the Final Limit: Rousseau, Prehistory, and Slavery
Imagine No Relation
Relating with the Wild
After the Final Limit
Null and Void
Splitting Property
§ 5                   The Racial Grammar of Kantian Time
Why Nonreciprocal Relations Do Not Coexist in Time, or, Two Moving Images
Why Coexistence in Space and Time Is Not “Ethical”
§ 6                   Frankenstein and the “Free Black”
Coming Up Empty
Geneva Defends Itself
Boreal Eschatology

Part 3: Nonpolitical Distinctions
Prologue to Part 3
§ 7                   Beautiful Soul/Brave Soul
Immediate, Ethical, Legal: The Orders of Diversity
“Morality” as Queer Realization?
§ 8                   Bearing to Benefit: Complicity as Therapy
Broken Open
From Crisis to Primary Disorder
Bearing It: Hegel’s Dream
The Invention of Complicity
§ 9                   Not “Non-political Distinctions”: A Phrase in Marx Revisited
Nonpolitical Distinctions
Not Nonpolitical Distinctions
Works Cited

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