“Traversing Suicide: The Unthought of Blackness in the Suicidological Imagination”
Co-sponsored with the Comparative Literature Program in Experimental Critical Theory
About the Lecture
This talk poses a fundamental question: “Is Black suicide possible?” This question aims to excavate, within the contemporary field of suicidology, the systematic riveting of blackness to what afropessimism calls “the position of the unthought”—a position hewed by an antiblack violence that clears the existential horizon for human beings to emerge from history as always-already available for Being, for death, for a future. This question strives to unsettle the universality and neutrality of the subject or being of suicidality in the “suicidological imagination” to the extent that its universality necessitates the neutralization of being’s racial inscription as conterminously human and non-Black. In this talk, the fundamental question of Black suicide is opposed to leading questions about suicide causation and prevention—questions that are doubly encumbered by the essentialism of “premature death” and the moral imperative to preserve the sanctity of human life—which obviate posing suicide as a problem for thought. To think this problematic, it will be argued, requires grappling with suicide as an architectonic idiom for modern, racialized Man, the highest form of Being—and the locus of morality and tragedy—that, under the imperative of antiblackness, organizes our very desire for existence.
About the Speaker
Adrián I. P-Flores is the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Comparative Literature at UCLA. He earned his doctorate in Gender & Women’s Studies from The University of Arizona. Flores is currently working on a book manuscript, What Is Suicide? Entanglements of Philosophy and Literature in the “Afterlife of Slavery.” What Is Suicide? examines the production of the modern subject through the antiblack racial logics of “suicide.”