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Enduring Abjection: The Mystical Potential of White Self-Dispossession after Becoming Human


Abstract for Online Program Book (maximum 1200 characters including spaces)

This paper brings together Zakiyyah Iman Jackson and Julia Kristeva to articulate the ways in which white Self dispossession from the antiblack logics of liberal humanism figures mystical experience qua abjection – what Kristeva understands as a “jouissance of infinite displacement.” Specifically, it argues that since liberal humanism stabilizes the white subject as such, the philosophical and embodied, political disarticulation of liberal humanism may not be reducible to, but also may not be articulable apart from, abjection. Insofar as Jackson sees spiritual potential in a reimagining of the human arising from a sociogenic destabilizing of the humanimal and real/fantasy binaries, this paper argues that if such potential is not to be a sentimental affair for the white subject, then abjection of the self seems to figure as necessary in the movement from self-possession to receptivity and affectability.