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Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity$
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Lindon Barrett

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038006

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038006.001.0001

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The Conceptual Impossibility of Racial Blackness

The Conceptual Impossibility of Racial Blackness

History, the Commodity, and Diasporic Modernity

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Conceptual Impossibility of Racial Blackness
Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity

Lindon Barrett

, Justin A. Joyce, Dwight A. Mcbride, John Carlos Rowe
University of Illinois Press

This chapter traces modern conceptions of racial blackness from the beginnings of Euro-American imperialism in the Western Hemisphere through the seventeenth-century Atlantic slave trade and the mercantilist economy dependent on slavery up to the Federalist era (1780–1800) in early U.S. national politics. It traces a historical trajectory—approximately 1500 to 1800—that links the origin of the U.S. nation (and its Constitutional avoidance of the immorality of its slave system) to European imperialism and the mercantilist economy supported by the slave trade. In so doing the chapter establishes “the fundamental, ongoing event of Western modernity” and how it revises systems of world trade and the mechanics of state powers, and revises the materiality of the body and the relations of the body to the discursive mechanisms by which it is socially apprehended and managed in the modern exclusive paradigms of personhood.

Keywords:   racial blackness, Western modernity, Euro-American imperialism, Federalist era, slavery, mercantilist economy, slave trade, United States, diasporic modernity

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