Books: Best of 2013

Fred Moten

Nahum Dimitri Chandler inhabits the question and the fate of thinking in X: The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought (Fordham University Press). (Full disclosure: I served as an anonymous reader for the manuscript.) Chandler deepens and extends an intellectual tradition that assumes the constitutive presence of black folks in the formation, as well as the critique, of modernity. Primarily by way of the unprecedented depth and rigor of his engagement with the work of W. E. B. DuBois, Chandler reveals black presence (often taken for absence, and this absence usually perceived as a problem) as an ongoing event of problematization. An “originary displacement” of modernity, Chandler argues, is carried out in the social and intellectual life of blackness. This life in thought is structured by exclusion, but its exteriority is misunderstood when characterized merely as exclusion’s

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