“Exile” names a condition as it has been inflicted upon subjects (exiles) by some form of state bureaucracy giving itself the power to allow, deny, or otherwise define life, movement, and being. As a condition, its essence is narrative: there is a before and after the exiled subject came to be. Temporality is also intrinsic to the term when it refers to a subject, for it describes a timeless waiting for a resolution that will end the state that it names. Anchored to its context because of its decisively political nature, “exile” refers to culture and society but it also resonates (perhaps from the onset) as a religious term: a profoundly unnatural state that separates human beings from all other sentient creatures and that became—at least since European Enlightenment philosophy and then Romantic aesthetics reflected on its implications—one of the defining elements for modern thought. Arguably, some notion related to what we now call “exile” was constitutive to the social lives of Indigenous populations of the Americas, though the “castaway” or the “banished” who appear in many surviving pre-Columbian accounts may not have always been exactly a political subject in the modern sense of the term. It is clear that...

This essay may be found on page 58 of the printed volume.

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