Sentences for the next paper on Ferreira da Silva

Sentences I did not use in text #2

That racialization does not only use a logic of exclusion, but one of obliteration is one of Homo Modernus’ central insights.

Why characters of color are elaborated and then disappeared in the novela das oito of the 1980s was a motivating question for Ferreira da Silva early on, and such questions are still worth asking—although the strata she excavates in this book are much deeper.

Ideas I did not use or on which I should expand further:

As Hua points out, a huge part of Silva’s project is to show how the logic of modern representation, privileging reason and associating it with whiteness, informs much current writing about race. This opens a larger discussion on Césaire, Fanon, Spivak, Coronil (who criticizes Spivak), and Wynter, worth having.

We can see a certain confluence with Wynter’s concern to separate the idea of Man and the human from the Enlightenment subject—the Fanonian break or move beyond, or Third Event” as Wynter calls it, with Ferreira da Silva’s project. There is the use of different kinds of Man—in Ferreira, historicus, scientificus, and modernus, and in Wynter homo economicus and homo politicus, and the emphasis on imagination/creativity as a way out.

P. 65 on the transparency thesis includes this plan of work:

“Ao mostrar como o Eu transparente, que a historicidade pressupõe e reproduz, sempre-já surge em disputa com outros, que simultaneamente constituem e ameacam sua prerrogativa ontologica, minha leitura desloca a tese da transparencia e remolda o sujeito moderno como homo modernus, o ser historico global produzido com as ferramentas usadas pelos dois campos da representação moderna, isto é, história e ciência.”

There is more to say here. We can, however, see a certain confluence with Wynter’s concern to separate the idea of Man and the human from the Enlightenment subject—the Fanonian break or move beyond, or Third Event” as Wynter calls it, with Ferreira da Silva’s project. There is the use of different kinds of Man—in Ferreira, historicus, scientificus, and modernus, and in Wynter homo economicus and homo politicus, and the emphasis on imagination/creativity as a way out.

More things cut

I just couldn’t fit all of this, and I would go on forever again.

The ten chapters of Homo Modernus are framed by three shorter pieces that throw into relief the racial dimension of historical time. In “Antes do evento,” the preface, a young Black man tells his police executioner, “Eu estava morto antes do meu pai nascer” (15). The introduction, “Uma morte anunciada,” refers to the postmodern critique of the subject, which according to Ferreira da Silva has not actually “died” and is inextricably tied to race. As Homo Modernus will argue in detail, the Other of that subject cannot institute their own subjecthood because transcendental poesis requires them to remain exterior and bars them from self-determination. This racial longue durée, as Winant puts it (Racial Conditions 20-21), is what Ferreira da Silva proposes to remedy, as the title of her conclusion, “Futuro anterior,” suggests. To create a world where children are not dead before their fathers are born, we must halt the processes that use the transparency thesis to write racialized subjects into subaltern spaces. If not, the future is already written, and we are living it.

The first chapter, focused on the transparency thesis, stands apart from the rest, like another introduction. Ferreira da Silva aims to show how the modern subject arises in dispute with its Others, to decenter this abstract locus of universal reason, and to refashion it as the global-historical homo modernus, “produzido com as ferramentas usadas pelos dois campos da representação moderna, isto é, história e ciência” (65). This effort matters because modern representation, privileging reason and associating it with whiteness, informs our understanding of subject and self, as well as a great deal of critical writing on race. The rest of the book is divided into three parts, Homo Historicus, Homo Scientificus, and Homo Modernus, each comprised of three chapters. The fourth chapter, the concluding one in Homo Historicus introduces the concepts of transcendental poesis and the scene of engulfment, both crucial for the…

….

Ferreira da Silva argues that race is the most fundamental tool of power the modern subject has and the ground upon which Western representation is built. This insight leads to an illuminating critique of some postmodern and postcolonial theory and enables a discussion of the specificity of racial discourse in Latin America as part of global modernity. Ferreira da Silva’s observations suggest useful rereadings of Latin American discourse and the symbolic work it does on race.

Axé.


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