Wednesday, May 03, 2017

A Brief Note on "A Colony in a Nation" (2017)

A Colony in a NationA Colony in a Nation by Christopher L. Hayes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hayes' book is far more than a polemic about America's racial inequities; "A Colony in a Nation" weaves a sophisticated argument inviting us to re-conceive the country's dual (black/white) systems as analogous to those of a colony, where the distinction between "citizen" and "subject" is always salient. The influence of diverse thinkers, principally Fanon and Mahmood Mamdani, informs this book, but the deftness, urgent accessibility, and commitment to demonstrating the relevance to contemporary "inner cities" of anti-colonial modes of analysis are all Hayes' own, making this a deeply relevant book, and an intellectual bridge between the activism of the Civil Rights Era and that of "Black Lives Matter!". (Nor is this a book bereft of international resonance: Hayes' argument translates quite readily to many other polities, post-colonial in theory but that show very little commitment to dismantling the structures that under-gird recognizably colonial states.)

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