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CHAPTER NINE. On How We Mistook the Map for the Territory, and Reimprisoned Ourselves in Our Unbearable Wrongness of Being, of Desêtre: Black Studies Toward the Human Project

Sylvia Wynter

Subject Race and Ethnicity Studies » African American Studies

Key-Topics human rights, humanism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631235163.2005.00012.x


The idea that Western thought might be exotic if viewed from another land-scape never presents itself to most Westerners. Amiri Baraka (1963) It is the opinion of many Black writers, I among them, that the Western aesthetic has run its course … We advocate a cultural revolution in art and ideas … In fact, what is needed is a whole new system of ideas. Larry Neal (1971) I would like to refer you to an essay by the late Dr. Du Bois where he … says that, up until the point that he really came to terms with Marx and Freud, he thought “truth wins.” But when he came to reflect on the set of lived experiences that he had, and the notions of these two men, he saw … that if one was concerned about surviving … about … “the good life” and moving any society toward that, then you had to include a little something other than an interesting appeal to “truth” in some abstract, universal sense. Gerald McWhorter (1969) The emergence of the Black Studies Movement in its original thrust, before its later cooption into the mainstream of the very order of knowledge whose “truth” in “some abstract universal sense” it had arisen to contest, was inseparable from the parallel emergence of the Black Aesthetic/Black Arts movements and the central reinforcing relationship that had come to exist between them. Like the latter two movements, the struggle to institute Black Studies programs and departments in ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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