Authors Name: 
Amrit Trewn
University: 
Northwestern University
Category: 
Literature
Highly commended

Suffering in Diaspora: Dis/Assembling the Modern Human and Rethinking Ethics

How does thinking through memories of French colonialism brought to the fore throughout the Algerian Diaspora reshape dynamic interventions made by Lévinas on suffering and ethics? In the forthcoming paper, I stage a theoretical dialogue between Asma Abbas, Alexander Weheliye, Emmanuel Lévinas, Stuart Hall, and Homi K. Bhabha on the role of suffering, racializing assemblages, and diaspora to thinking otherwise about humanity and ethics. I show how Levinas's colorblind approach to developing ethics through thinking-of-the-Other without being attentive to the social text renders the suffering of those racialized others thrown into diaspora illegible. In turn, I argue that diaspora as an analytic has the potential to reveal how racializing assemblages fundamentally adjudicate the modern catergory of the 'human' and shape our post/colonial economies of sensuality. I explore the possibilities of diaspora to aid scholars in theorizing the relations between colonialism, race, political violence, suffering, and the modern human beyond the ontic manifestations of post/colonial racism which too often inundate us with scenes of spectacular, aberrational violence. In other words, I argue that diaspora has the potential to stretch scholars towards what Wehlieye a la Gayatri Spivak calls an ontic-ontological understanding of racializing assemblages.