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We question the question of affect and race as one that has already built itself upon blackness and anti-blackness, such that the question a priori for an affect theory seeking to address race, we argue, is that of black ontology. We first examine various works in affect theory that theorize race through new mechanisms of discourse, works that theorize interpersonal and emotive affects, and works that have contributed to a biopolitical understanding of race, affect, and assemblage. Delving deeper into a Deleuzian legacy of affect as capacity we assert that the theoretical works of afro-pessimism and black optimism (as black ontology) allows for generative thought around the materializations, value, and productions of racialized capacity—specifically the affective capacity of blackness. This work points to a vital direction for affect theory that can no longer dismiss or transcend race in a bid for a universal masked/marked posthumanism.


This article was originally published in Athenea Digital and is licensed under a Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 license (CC-BY)



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