Shame Is An Autoimmune Disorder

by on Apr.15, 2012


I’ve been thinking about Julie Carr’s lovely meditation at Poetry Foundation for National Poetry Month “Shame and the Shape of the I.” I’m missing the Shape of the ‘I’ conference that Julie and her colleague John-Michael Rivera are hosting in Boulder this weekend. It looks amazing, important, but I’m missing it because I’m too sick. When I called Friday morning to explain that I was too sick to participate, I burst into tears, which is something I rarely do in public and only in acute moments of shame. My baroque leaky-vessel impulses take over and it’s mascara to my chin. I’m surprised I don’t purposefully pee myself in some sort of Jacobean-drama-meets-early-Wes-Craven freak out. Maybe I’m just working up to it.

The conference organizers didn’t make me cry; that was my own doing. They were kind and understanding, and respectful. Sometimes people speak to those of us in what Susan Sontag calls “the kingdom of illness” as though we’re naughty children in need of indulgence. I’ve been called a delicate flower, no kidding. Perfectly thoughtful people might not get that bodies have different registers and reactions to sick, that some bodies have different stakes, and that some of us are more than willing (or all too often required) to work at the far end of our material limitations whenever it’s possible, so if we’re saying we can’t, we really can’t. Rarer times, like yesterday, people are aware and thoughtful. And that’s an immense relief.

In her Poetry Foundation post, Julie says:

[W]hen I think about shame, which Sedgwick called “the affect that most defines the space where a sense of self will develop,” I think how the need to protect the self (against attacks or rejections real or imagined) creates boundaries, helps us to distinguish (as Sedgwick puts it) between figure and ground.

Poet Kristen Stone has also been posting about this, and quotes:

I want to say that at least for certain (“queer”) people, shame is simply the first, and remains a permanent, structuring fact of identity: one that…has its own, powerfully productive and powerfully social metamorphic possibilities.
-Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,p. 63-65 “Shame, Theatricality, Queer Performativity”Touching Feeling

I like this Sedgwick-derived reading of what we might imagine to be self-productive shame. One of the things I want to know about it: when the shaming process is thoroughly internalized, how does the self protect itself from itself? What happens when shame turns the self on itself, causing the self to reshape? Here, in place of reshape, I’m tempted to use words like mutate, deform, self-eradicate, but only if their heavy pejorative connotations could be held off a’ways. On the disability side of things, I’m wary of the damage these terms do to those whose bodies are perceived as subjectless objects. On the poetics side of things, I’m wary of the delirious enthusiasm with which we grotesquers (I!) embrace these terms. And as Sedgwick guides us to imagine, shame isn’t uniformly good or bad, but complicated and unarguably productive of something.

Via autoimmune disorder, the body turns on its own properties, which it perceives as threatening. Not unlike Kristeva’s abjection, the body is willing to rid itself of itself in order to rid itself of disgust. We generally agree that autoimmune disorders are bad. Some are deadly. Many result in chronic, literally brain-altering pain. This weekend I’m feeling like my autoimmune trouble–as non-fatal, undifferentiated, often invisible, and navigable as it is–is indeed bad. But other times I wonder if it isn’t good? Useful? Does it keep me more aware, dissuade me from ingesting toxic materials, kill off some real bad ‘uns in its purges? Would I have been a decent person if I hadn’t so young gotten so sick? What are its unforeseen bennies?

This’d be better speculation if I were up to date on affect theory, but I’m not, so I’m just gonna go with my gut here: As in the case of autoimmune disorder, the self that experiences internalized shame is willing to eradicate itself in order to purge its shameful parts.

In a poetics piece that introduces my poems in Beauty is A Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (edited by the excellent Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Fiona Black, and Michael Northern, Cinco Puntos 2011), I say:

My body can pass for able.  The question: should I allow it to do so?  Am I a dilettante in the realm of disability, dabbling in limitations?  Or, if I allow the male gaze to categorize me as normal, am I in league with the ableist agenda?  I don’t know.  I do know I have always had to, and will always have to, live consciously within the meat of the body, and this meat life influences every fiber of my politics/poetics.

No one engendered my shame when I had to back out of the conference. Having to call and back out did. Having to determine what I could do, whether or not I was too sick engendered my shame. By Thursday night, I’d had for several days the enterovirus (febrile, non-specific, with digestive, respiratory, &/or myalgia symptoms) going around town, but I wasn’t rallying like everybody else who had it. I’d been eating nothing but rice cakes and popsicles, and was having trouble breathing. Still, I very much wanted to go to the conference. I started making contradictory deals with myself. If I can eat a meal tonight, I can go. (I later amended meal to toast.) If I vomit again, I can’t go. (Later amended to vomit for real, which doesn’t include vomiting in the wake of cleaning up after a projectile-vomiting two-year-old, ’cause duh.) If my joints unclench, I can go. If I get any dizzier, I can’t go. Of course, it never occurred to me to go to the doctor.

In the paper my colleague Andy Fitch graciously presented in my stead at the conference (and which will appear in longer form in the upcoming double issue of English Language Notes that inspired the conference) I say:

I must render my lonely experience of pain in terms doctors can apprehend. What an ideal verb, render! I boil it down and attempt to isolate the pain from all other sensation and material in my body. Divide pain from my body from me. Gather it into a solid and thrust it at the doctor. Or, really, for the sake of time and so the doctor won’t regard me as a kook, I resort to cliché: like a hammer, a hot iron, burning, stabbing. None quite do the pain justice or satisfy my desire to communicate this highly subjective phenomenon to a supposedly objective party who can confirm its realness (and its real crappiness). These phrases, at their best, set the diagnosis in motion and elicit a bit of kindness. At worst, they quarantine us on the brink of our own alienated painscapes.

A doctor can’t tell me whether or not I’m sick enough. You can’t tell me whether I’m sick enough, although I’ve been trying hard to convince you I am (boring the heck out of you, perhaps, other people’s dreams and illnesses…). I’ll never imagine myself sick enough to be too sick, but will instead think myself morally deficient (leaky, permeable, weak, soft, all those pejoratives of patriarchal choice!) when I choose to stay home. That’s where I fail to take the lessons of disability studies into the shape of my I.

I’m a sad sack this weekend. If I hadn’t been home with access to medical services I’m familiar with and a zillion hours of sleep, I’d likely have caused the conference organizers even more inconvenience. I might be contagious still, I might’ve puked or panted frighteningly in Andy’s car as we passed over the high, lonely notch that separates Laramie from all other territories. In January, in the midst of a nasty bout of shingles, I went to MLA to present a paper on a feminist publishing panel. I was relieved not to let anyone down, and it was rad. At the same time, I was so neurologically slammed, I failed to recognize my gorgeous, six-foot-tall, red-headed poet friend until I read her name tag. I spent as many hours in the icksome hotel bed as at events, and I came home to begin the semester exhausted, in pain, and (of course) ashamed of myself. I tried to make new rules about illness and travel (see the deals above) in case this happened again (see now), but there really is no formula by which to make the right choice because there is no right choice. There is no way to be good, except not to be sick (says the hegemony that powers the shame machine).

My nonstop shamestravaganza comes from a broad web of experiences. What’s useful about looking in isolation at the effects of internalized cultural constructions of illness and disability is twofold. Just developing ideas, but let me try to say ’em like this:

1. Shame and autoimmune disorder function in remarkably similar fashion, reacting first to (real or perceived) alien threats, but then responding out of scale to (real or perceived) threats from one’s own materials rendered uncanny.

2. When people—friends, family, colleagues, bosses, doctors, whomever—know how to respond to illness or limitation with real understanding, with no trace of (unwitting) judgment or superiority, then the internalized shame system will find itself short on fuel.

I want to think more about this. I also want to think more about pain poetics, as I do in my essay in the ELN double-issue. For disability poetics on the broader scope check out Petra Kuppers enormously smart essay to which my essay responds. There are other respondents as well, and the issue delves into many other angles on the I.

***And FYI? When I Google the term shame, the first images that come up are a chimp in an attitude of chagrin, and this polar bear. Multispecies shame salon, where are you?

32 comments for this entry:
  1. Kate Z

    I really loved this Danielle. Thank you.

  2. Ailbhe Darcy

    This was a fantastic and, for me, a moving read. I was sick for almost a decade with a pernicious anemia that was misdiagnosed as depression, and was frequently unable to do things or take part in events I really wanted to take part in, and often held back from close friendships for fear of letting people down. I thought a lot about shame during that time, but never quite in these terms – it was so great to read this.

    One thing that was interesting about my experience was that I was eventually diagnosed correctly, and began treatment. And since then I have not been sick. But I was shocked to find that, instead of reacting to this development with pure joy, being ‘cured’ sent me into crisis: a crisis that I phrased to myself at the time as, “I don’t know who I am!” Because I didn’t know where the shame ended and I began. Or, maybe, without the shame I couldn’t tell the figure from the ground.

    Anyway – all that is just to say, thank you.

  3. JSA Lowe

    This is gorgeous and I just wrote a ridiculously long response, which I now feel ashamed about, haha! and so will post on my blog. Lovely writing.

  4. Johannes

    danielle, what is it about the “grotesque” that makes you wary?

  5. Lara Glenum

    The trick for me is not to identify with my autoimmune disorder. I am not my disorder. I totally resist this. I don’t think anyone thinks of me as a “subjectless object.”

    I love the Sedgwick quote: “I want to say that at least for certain (“queer”) people, shame is simply the first, and remains a permanent, structuring fact of identity: one that…has its own, powerfully productive and powerfully social metamorphic possibilities.”

    Shame, for me, predates my illness, and is, as she notes, a generative engine of it’s own.

    Shame & auto-immune disorders = varieties of self-cannibalism. Can this be productive? Yes. All cannibalism can be productive (I’m thinking of de Campos’s theories of translation as productive cannibalism).

    I don’t have a problem with able-bodied people working in the vein of the grotesque. I resist this kind of territorialization about who can write what. And frankly, I think we’re all decomposing.

  6. Danielle Pafunda

    Thanks, all– I so appreciate these responses & Ailbhe, thank you for sharing that–I can identify in many ways.

    J: The grotesque doesn’t make me wary; it’s an aesthetic, a strategy. But, in terms of talking about disability, as I said, I’m wary about the enthusiastic embrace of a few grotesque body modifying terms. When someone who’s (as Rosemarie Garland Thomson would say) unusually enfaced, or someone who uses canes, or someone with one arm gets referred to as deformed or mutated, such a word serves to dehumanize. So! Though I love those verbs for reproducing the effect of patriarchy on the human subject, or for hyperbolizing the experience of internalizing unwelcome cultural constructions, or for redefining beauty through horror, I’m wary about the places where (particularly in this field) these words cross into slurs. I’ve got more thoughts about reconciling my own feminist and disability poetics, but totes can’t articulate them, now.

    Lara, yeah, we’re coming from different chronology’s on that one! Sometimes I wonder if I came into illness before I came into gender, though I wasn’t ill-unto-dying until I was about 3, so that’s stretching it. Anyhow, no way to separate my early illness & hospital experiences from my development of a discreet self. Body/mind split doesn’t function so well for me ;). Of course, I don’t mean any of this in an essentialist way–I’m narrating myself (awkwardly to be sure) and speculating about a thing that could happen, often happens in marginalized populations. Excellent for anyone who manages not to identify with cultural constructions of her illness or disability! It’s a skill many of us would like to learn.

    I do think that anyone living with disability or limitation (which could be up to 20% of the population, depending how we measure) is at risk for being understood as a subjectless object, but when I used that phrase I was speaking more precisely about people who have visible disabilities, who are pelted with objectifying language, lack of access, etc. I want to be careful about my language in this terrain.

    I’ll make this clear, though: I’m not saying anything about who can or should use the grotesque. That’s hardly my point. I do think it valuable to talk about the ways in which we apply the grotesque and how its use reads via multiple lenses. That’s hardly an edict :).

  7. Lucas de Lima

    Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Danielle. It’s making me think about the current debate among scholars of affect. While the Deleuzians argue for a definition of affect as a bodily and physiological trait, people liek Lauren Berlant and Sedgwick seem to make it interchangeable with emotion, sentiment, and ideology.

    I’m drawn more to the Deleuzian definition myself, which maybe explains why I’m ok with the word “mutation.” I like that it foregrounds the body as opposed to the subject, and ecology as opposed to more narrow conceptions of “the social.” This versioin of affect also lets us talk about a more collective idea of decomposition, as Lara puts it, so that we might reframe “disability” as “debility,” and thus question what it is to have capacity to begin with in a society that actually depends on debilitation for profit.

    My hero JK Puar has an excellent article called “Prognosis time: Towards a geopolitics of affect, debility and capacity” about this. It’s where I got the notion of conviviality I keep talking about.

  8. becca

    I love this brave beautiful post.

    Synchronistically, I was just reading about shame as a big thread in affect studies. Besides Sedgwick, there’s also:

    Sally Munt, *Queer Attachments: The Cultural Politics of Shame*

    Elspeth Probyn, *Blush: Faces of Shame*


  9. Danielle Pafunda

    Oh, fascinating, Lucas. Is there anyone occupying the middle ground, suggesting that affect is what happens when ideology & body come into contact, or something like that? I often think of affect as different from emotion in that affect needn’t be lodged in the human subject/body. Like: a text can carry affect. Or a room could have an affect. And I’d think of emotion as the word we use for that bad mix of physiology, sentiment, etc.–it’s all body. But I’m a total novice in this field.

    & theoretically I agree with you about “mutate” or “deform” (and certainly don’t shy from that kind of language in the poems). But what we do–maybe this is too simplistic–what do we do before the reframing kicks in? I mean, this happens when a slur gets reclaimed, right? You have to reclaim it judiciously because there are situations in which the reclamation isn’t gonna scan. Or maybe other folks don’t mind risking a bad receipt. I do, sometimes. I get hung up on it, try to weigh it. There are people whose lived experiences are still dictated by the old framework, and they might actively resist the reframing for plenty of understandable reasons. I feel… troubled by this. Especially when it’s on the blog. Blogs are notorious interstices of misunderstanding, perhaps because they don’t cue the right set of comprehension skillz.

    Bex, thank you for these! You’ve always got the recs!

  10. Katie Booms

    Danielle, your “shamestravaganza” and “multispecies shame salon” bring me to joy. And acquiescence to a much-needed nap.

    Finally, and for the record, if you were a flower, it would not be a fragile one.

  11. Ailbhe Darcy

    I’m so interested in Julie Carr’s mention, in the blog on the Poetry Foundation website, of “the strictures against the revealing of the self that (in some realms of poetry) have not yet been lifted, that continue to be re-inscribed. The effacement of the I: is it an ethics or a sham? Or a result of shame?”

    How is it that poetry has been so ashamed of the ‘I’ when prose, in the last decade or so, has been interested in almost nothing else? The rise of the “nobody” memoir and the misery memoir has been epic! Is this part of WHY poetry has shied away from the self?


    I enjoyed this too, thank you– a note from Derrida (THE ANIMAL THAT THEREFORE I AM) to contextualize this:

    “Autobiography, the writing of the self as living, the trace of the living for itself, being for itself, the auto-affection or auto-infection as memory or archive of the living would be an immunizing movement (a movement of safety, of salvage and salvation of the safe, the holy, the immune, the indemnified, of virginal and intact nudity), but an immunizing movement that is always threatened with becoming auto-immunizing, as is every autos, every ipseity, every automatic, automobile, autonomous, auto-referential movement. Nothing risks becoming more poisonous than an autobiography, poisonous for itself in the first place, auto-infectious for the presumed signatory who is so auto-affected”


    And on a 2nd note to animal shame/shame circuits: Bresson’s AU HASARD BALTHAZAR:

  14. Danielle Pafunda

    Katie, you are very kind! I’d be a corpse flower!

    Some more shame readings for us from my FB thread:

    -Jennifer Biddle’s essay on anthropological shame in *Emotions: A Cultural Studies Reader*
    -Bernard Williams
    -Wendy Hamblet
    -Michael Morgan
    -a multi-authored book (Deonna et al) called *In Defense of Shame*
    – HIcks’ “Keats and Embarrassment”

    Lucas, thanks for reminding me about the Puar! I finally went and read the copy I’d downloaded last year, and it’s gorgeous. Exciting and liberating approach–that Haraway-Massumi-etc. nexus!!! Has she published more about conviviality that you’ve read?

    Here’s a real jumble of stuff I’m puzzling over, so forgive me if it doesn’t make with the pony: Looking at everyone’s comments here, the Derrida, the constraint with which poets approach the ‘I’, etc. I guess it’s coming down to this for me: a lot of the reframing of the body & subject that I’m most excited about requires a letting go of that really pungent hallucination: the individual self. Not just letting go of the commitment to a stable or static self (the postmodern task), but letting go the commitment to an isolated experience of an obviously shifting, socially coded entity we freely admit we erroneously experience as self. Self is sous rature, but sometimes that under-erasure hashtag becomes a way to get lazy and go back to living like the self is a given, no? Like I’ve got a static me in here who builds upon herself, who improves or degrades, whose successes and transgressions get tallied by the universe–or partner or community group or tenure committee or judgy parents or whatevs :).

    I keep returning to Elaine Scarry’s ideas about pain making and unmaking. The experience of pain sends one (me, anyhow) slamming back into the discreet body, it presses me up against fantasies of stasis. While it unmakes the self in some ways, it reifies the self in others–I am alone in here!–or Mina Loy’s I am the centre. / of a circle of pain. / Exceeding its boundaries in every direction. (I might have those line breaks wrong.)

    Sure: we are all in decay. (I love what Puar does to push the idea of prognosis-time, & I don’t want to be reductive about that–I’m not responding to her explicitly, here, but to our general impulse on the topic.) But just as troubling gender doesn’t put us in a post-gender world, troubling the dominant neoliberal notions of the body doesn’t immediately free us from experiencing it this way. If I’m occupied by a discreet prognosis event–what I’d call casually sick or in pain–I start to feel the boundaries of the self-body matrix as pretty distinct, even or especially when they start dissolving on me. The decay that hurts me and impedes my thoughts means something to me that the general flux of decay and compost bloom does not. I start to feel my own debility/capacity ratio and compare it to those seemingly discreet embodied figures–people!–around me. And of course the problem here is that the current framework dictates how I experience illness or pain, makes sure that those experiences reinforce the neoliberal model. Ugh, sometimes I feel like I’m in cultural rehab. Maybe if all the people all at once got on board with the new framework, it’d feel different. & I certainly love the thought of affect as a capacity–a thing we can access, but needn’t contain. What’s shame if we consider it unhinged from the subject who might experience it???

    Okay, y’all, I think I have hit the point in the program where I’m spiraling, so please don’t feel compelled to parse it. Thanks for letting me think aloud; time to take a breath! xoxo

  15. Johannes

    Puar gets the “conviviality” from Mbebe’s “on the Postcolony”, an african/postcolonial take on the grotesque and political power. It’s a really fascinating book (too). It is kind of Deleuzian but based on African dictatorships, suggesting how the grotesque forms a kind of connection (rather than resistance) to the dictator.

    The thing I have trouble understanding why you want to maintain “the human” as this important concent (ie you don’t want to “dehumanize” people). To me this goes hand in hand with the question I asked Lara: why she was so interested in privileging “subjectivity” (ie it’s better to have subjectivity than being objectified). Don’t you think the “human” has something to do with that hallucinatory self you’re talking about?

    Whenever people talk about being “wary” or “concerned” about the grotesque, it seems they are worried about its dehumanizing effects.


  16. Johannes

    Ooops, Mbembe that should be.

  17. adam strauss

    Yep-yep: “sometimes that under-erasure hashtag becomes a way to get lazy and go back to living like the self is a given”; I think this may relate: sometimes I’ve heard people smuggly recite–‘oh, gender is just a construct,” as if this is a flimsy entity! Ok now for a tangent: I wonder about the pairing–frequent in some discourses–of gender to performance; performance implies, to some degree, self-conscious agency, so I’d ask whether discipline (a friend has told me there’s an essay from the 80s or 90s that links MF’s D and P to women explicitly, and I’d not be surprised if I’m just restating a decades old thesis) might be an apter word to link to the term gender? As discipline gets both at “the” active and the passive/defaultatative: discipline disciplines, and it requires practice/activity/agency.

  18. Lara Glenum

    Hang on, Johannka, you seem to have missed Kim’s comment (and my endorsement) of productive objectification!

  19. Johannes

    Sorry, I must not be caught up!I guess what I meant was: that’s why I wondered about it.

  20. Danielle Pafunda

    I think it’s sometimes appropriate to acknowledge the human, sometimes appropriate to decenter the human, and other times appropriate to dehumanize. This post does privilege the human, for some of the reasons I outline in my comment above. Hallucinations are valid sites of inquiry for me, & maybe I’m just soft on humans.

    If you want to talk more about this post, I’m happy to, but need to take a break because I have–kid you not, friends–something called devil’s grip.

  21. Johannes

    Sounds unpleasant. Get well! Sinead has pnemonia and cough until she pukes.


  22. Monica Mody

    Danielle, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here! “…the problem here is that the current framework dictates how I experience illness or pain, makes sure that those experiences reinforce the neoliberal model.” There’s the Western medical model of drugging the bodymind into a “normalcy” that would be willing to serve neoliberal values. The privileging of the “normal” bodymind over an ill, unproductive bodymind. And all of this, as you point out, has something to do with the isolated individual self.

    Andy Fisher, in Radical Ecopsychology: “Shame arises from out of a break in the ‘natural connectedness between me and my surround,’ where others ‘refuse to receive me.’ [quoting Gordon Wheeler, “Self and Shame”] …an individualistic ideology will be *intrinsically* shaming. …. Made sense of…in relational or social terms [rather than dualistic ones], shame is revealed as a ubiquitous, if not foundational, emotion in our culture–even if many or most of us refuse to explicitly feel it.”

  23. Monica Mody

    Embarrassment, on the other hand, has much to recommend itself.

  24. Alissa Nutting

    Fantastic conversation. Like you mentioned in your comment D, I often find it interesting to think of “human” as a label of privilege (another option in the filing cabinet of male/white/rich/seen/heard/acknowledged/important), a term applied to hierarchize be-ing(s)…perhaps it’s used more often to differentiate between “different” “groups” of people than to make a distinction between people and another species.

    I’m writing a speech right now to give at our campus’ Take Back the Night rally, and I have to say D, it never occurred to me (pretty sure this is some kind of repression on behalf of my own mind, talk about autoimmunity) that shame really can only exist within the “I”; it seems that even when I’m ashamed on behalf of another, it is still in relation to myself and due to an empathy based on my relationship with that individual, or aspects of their personal identity I feel coincide with my own. Is that a true thought or is that just myself attacking my self?

  25. adam strauss

    Alissa–howrya?! How goes Ohio?!

  26. Lucas de Lima

    Danielle, Puar is working right now on a book called Affective Politics that I’m hoping will elaborate on conviviality (my impression was that her version of the concept was a bit different from Mbembe’s, but obvz I need to check). But her recent article about It Gets Better has more on debility and capacity.

    I’m still really new to Deleuze, but I’ll try to spit out what I’ve intuited, though someone may have to correct me!

    I like Amit Rai’s recasting of affect as “ecologies of sensation.” It’s not primarily about an ideology like a “self” or a “shame” that we need to unmask, but rather about relations and sensations between all matter, and the ways matter gets ontologically modulated beyond (or before) passions, feelings, and sentiment. This modulation goes all the way down to molecules.

    I think this means that shame and other emotions for Deleuze would be affections, and not affects, that we might perhaps be able to anticipate and dissolve before/as they seize us. The making of art, as a tweaking of sensations, seems like one way to do this.

  27. Lucas de Lima

    I just remembered that my post on ambient shame also gets at some of the above:

  28. Lucas de Lima

    OK, sorry for the multiple comments- I think another great thing about words like “mutation” is taht they do allow us to talk about humans without privileging them: we’re just more matter in a state or ecology of becoming. This doesn’t mean that we should throw specificity out the window and forget the different assemblages/social formations in which we find ourselves, i.e. you have to be specific about which “self” you’re discussing. But I think it’s important at the same time to use terms that point up that self’s instability (which is the instability of an identity marker like “human”) and co-evolution.

  29. Johannes

    I’m far from an expert, but I do think Puar references Mbembe, right? Maybe I imagined that. There seems in either case to be a fundamental similarity in the way they use conviviality, but they write about quite different things (Mbembe write about African dictatorships specifically, though a lot of what he says sounds like our government…. esp. the Bush Neocons and the incompetent pageantry). But like I said, I could be wrong. I need to read both when I get a chance (ie when semester’s over).

    Can I also add that I really like this thread.


  30. Johannes

    ALso, I didn’t want to give the impression that I was correcting you Lucas, merely wanted to draw some attention to another great book.


  31. Lucas de Lima

    Oh, no, I didn’t get that impression! You’re right, Puar is totally indebted to Mbembe and his necropolitics. I’m just wondering why she wouldn’t mention him where she brings up conviviality, since she’s otherwise so good about giving people props. I actually need to read more Mbembe for a paper I’m working on.

    Luv the thread too.

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