This book philosophically rethinks the global history of colonization by focusing on the formation of the European aesthetic ideas of indigeneity and blackness in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean at large, and how these ideas were deployed as markers of biopolitical governance. Using Foucault’s philosophical archaeology as method, this work argues that the European formation of indigeneity and blackness was based on aesthetically casting Aboriginal and African peoples in the Caribbean as monsters yet with a similar degree of Western civilization and ‘culture’. By focusing on the aesthetics of the first racial imageries that produced indigeneity and blackness this work takes a radical departure from the current Social Darwinian theorizations of race and racism. It reveals a new connection between the global origins of colonization and local post-Enlightenment histories via a critical voyage from the Caribbean to Australia.
Author: Carlos Rivera Santana, Hispanic Studies, College of William & Mary
Commentator: Linda Alcoff, Philosophy Department, Hunter College
Carlos Rivera Santana is an assistant professor of Hispanic Studies at William & Mary specializing in Latin American/Caribbean visual culture, Indigenous studies, and decolonial theories. Before William & Mary, Rivera Santana was at CENTRO, Hunter College at CUNY, where he was a research associate looking at decolonial and Latinx Puerto Rican contemporary art. He was also was based in Australia for over seven years where he completed his PhD at The University of Queensland, Australia and was a postcolonial studies lecturer. His work critically examines histories of colonization and looks at their counter-discourses seen in Global South knowledge expressed in visual culture and literature, especially those produced from Indigenous and Afro-descendant worldviews. He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as in Cultural Studies, Third Text, Qualitative Inquiry, and others, and is the author of the book, Archaeology of Colonisation: From Aesthetics to Biopolitics published in 2019 within the series of “Critical Perspectives on Theory, Culture and Politics”.
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