Ep. 48 – Calvin Warren and Frank Wilderson III on Antiblackness, Nihilism, and Politics

This episode features James, John, and newly-christened Always Already Correspondent M. Shadee Malaklou in a discussion drawn from a cross-reading of Calvin L. Warren’s “Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope” (2015) with Frank Wilderson III’s “Gramsci’s Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society?” (2003). The spirited conversation covers the relation of (anti)Blackness to the constitution of the p/Political, its structuring logics of linear progressive time and rational civic engagement, and how the Political ultimately fails to achieve emancipation. We interrogate whether Western metaphysics is constitutively anti-black (spoiler alert: yes), and position Black Nihilism alongside Afropessimism, Black Optimism, and Afro-Futurism (all with their due™) to think through their various genealogies of production, the deeply affective labor asked of Black scholars who work on Black suffering. The episode concludes with an ode to the ever-needed wisdom of Black feminism. Is all hope lost? Take a listen and find out.

Thanks to the anonymous listener who requested this episode. Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Leah Dion for the intro music, to B for the outro music, and to Bad Infinity for the music between segments. Get the mp3 of the episode here.





4 thoughts on “Ep. 48 – Calvin Warren and Frank Wilderson III on Antiblackness, Nihilism, and Politics

  1. loved this discussion so much. i have been recently thinking about this problem of white scholars devouring black flesh. i am working on a thesis topic surrounding the potential to see whiteness as a form of religious worlding and i very much appreciate the work and lens of Wilderson, Hartman, Sexton and the larger AP camp, but as a white scholar not relying too heavily or succumbing fully to this worldview is difficult since esp Wilderson’s writing comes with such vigor, clarity, and precision. i am working with chris driscoll at lehigh university currently. i was wondering if any of you have thoughts on driscolls work titled “White Lies: Race and Uncertainty in the Twilight of American Religion” ?

    also another text in a similar vien of questioning that have caught my attension lately is the work of Vincent Lloyd “Afro-Pessimism and Christian Hope” (article).

    thanks for all the commentary and discussion! this has helped my friends and i push conversation a bit deeper 🙂

    1. “as a white scholar”

      Why do you fetishize alterity? Can’t you see that you are re-enacting the same ‘looking in’ which always characterises white essentialism/universalism. Your dysphoria has no bounds. Embrace your necessity, the choice isn’t yours.

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