Motivational Melancholia: Nathalie Etoke’s Rethinking of Subjective Agential Praxis
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This review seeks to evaluate and navigate the theoretical terrain in which author Nathalie Etoke engages new modes of reflection on old problems of anti-black violence and erasure. Melancholia Africana: The Indispensable Overcoming of the Black Condition is a fairly short and accessible text devoted to rethinking paradigms of subjectivity in ways that animate our individual and collective responsibility. She offers theoretical but practical interventions invigorated by the indisputable vitality of Black arts, particularly music and literature. She deftly combines rigorous philosophical examinations of the self and the other with a praxis-oriented invitation to reconsider the pathological hierarchy of social relations since the trans-Atlantic slave trade and how we might best upend them. Etoke’s refreshing take is one of possibility and potential.
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