Architectures of the Flesh
In Jacques Derrida’s Of Spirit, the late philosopher provocatively asks, “Is a metaphysics of race more or less serious than a naturalism or biologism of race?” My paper will offer a meditation on the material consequences of the metaphysics of race for “the body” by asking another question, “Is ‘the body’ metaphysical?” I will argue that it is and provide an analysis of what metaphysics does to materiality, nature, and biology as well as our conceptualization of these terms. Thinking through the black(ened) zone Hortense Spillers has termed “the flesh,” this paper proceeds by revisiting and elaborating key terms from my book, Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World, specifically biocentrism, measurement, and ontologized plasticization.
Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Southern California, is the author of Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World (NYU Press, 2020). Jackson has published in Feminist Studies; Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Science; Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience; South Atlantic Quarterly (SAQ); e-flux; and twice in Gay and Lesbian Quarterly (GLQ).