NeMLA 2022: In/From the Wake: Decolonial Witnessing
In her seminal work In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Christina Sharpe writes: “I’ve been trying to articulate a method of encountering a past that is not past. A method along the lines of a sitting with, a gathering, and a tracking of phenomena that disproportionately and devastatingly affect Black peoples any and everywhere we are.” She calls this methodology “living in the wake” of slavery and its afterlives. This panel invites papers that think in and from the wake to propose new methods to bear witness to trauma particular to othered, oppressed people. How can we establish a restorative witnessing, one which is imaginative, hauntological, and apocalyptic? How do we, by doing so, unsettle the foundational violence of coloniality and establish an otherwise where we care for and defend beings bearing the weight of coloniality? Most importantly, how do we do so while/by/through cosigning the possibility for humanity of oppressed peoples facing interlocking oppressions? Witnessing in/from the wake is and cannot not be a decolonial ethics because it articulates the stories suppressed by master narratives, reveals love and community between othered subjectivities, sits with the incomprehensibility of trauma without trying to make it sensical, and in caring for the dead is expressly concerned for the living and their modes of (and rights to) existing.