This talk considers Dionne Brand’s 2001 experimental memoir A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging, arguing that the text theorizes the gulf between Blackness and the World as rooted in the question of affective experience. I read Brand’s deployment of the concept-metaphor of “the Door” and its attendant “tear in the world” as indexing the chasm from which Black feeling outside of and against “the World” as relational container irrupts. Brand’s text reveals that rather than offering an escape from meaning-as-capture, when considered from the position of Blackness, feeling is capture, and it is this seemingly paradoxical state of things that renders Black affect aporetic. Feeling-as-capture is antithetical to dominant theorizations which posit that the ontology of affect is escape. In thinking capture as endemic to Blackness and therefore at the root of Black sensorial experience, Brand locates a rift in the very structure of affect.
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Talks in this series will be followed by discussion, including a Q&A session with the audience.
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