Transnationalism

Borrowed judiciously and grappled with by a myriad of academic disciplines, “transnationalism” broadly refers to the ways in which peoples, ideas, and culture transcend the borders of nation-­states and their adjacent structures in their lived experiences (Stephens 1998). “Black transnationalism” usually refers to the ways in which Black freedom struggles have related to one another beyond the boundaries of white nationhood.

African American studies and its disciplinary relatives have long been uncomfortably concerned with the overlapping questions of Black transnationalism, race, and politics (Harris [1982] 1993a; Hanchard 2004). They have historically framed “Black transcendence” by terms produced by Black movements and praxis—­such as “Ethiopianism,” “Black nationalism,” négritude, the “Black international,” and “Pan-­Africanism”—­as opposed to Black transnationalism. For example, African diaspora studies has inherently been an interdisciplinary project of Black transnational border thinking (Mignolo and Tlostanova 2006). It has sought to make sense of the historical, political, and cultural linkages …

University

The university is a collective space of learning beyond compulsory education, a collectivity of faculty and students working together with the purpose and aim of producing and disseminating knowledge. This means that the university, with the power to produce and grant degrees, is a site of struggle and contestation precisely because it is a site of power to confer or withhold. The university is a site that makes claims about knowledge and its acquisition, knowledge and its production, knowledge and its dissemination. By the thirteenth century, this term referred to the work of scholars and faculty together to receive instruction generally. The university is a space designated for thought, in other words, but such thought is not neutral; such universality emerges through exclusion. It is an exclusion that is made possible through difference and differentiation—­of gendered, raced, sexed difference—­being carried in the flesh that produces a crisis of meaning for …

War

African American and diasporic discussions of war reveal how authoritative white, Western theorists have oversimplified the important role of “difference” in theorizing war, whether we are thinking of war as a practice or as a metaphor for social relations. A racially and historically inflected exploration of such complications is critical to a robust consideration of the myriad meanings war has accrued within an African American and black diasporic framework.

The Prussian military strategist and former general Carl von Clausewitz famously conceptualized the structure of war in his influential treatise On War ([1832] 1997, 42): war is “nothing but a duel on a larger scale.” As he imagines it, war is akin to a contest between two people—­a “self” and an “other”—­but enlarged into a conflict between multiple “selves” (the same as you) and multiple “others” (different from you but indistinct from one another). Clausewitz’s representation of war as a simple …

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