The thisness of thatness, the thatness of thisness

Via Jane Clare Jones, a truly fancy piece of academic thinkery.

The Trans*-Ness of Blackness, the Blackness of Trans*-Ness

The essay thinks radically differently about the concepts of black and trans*. Trans* and black thus denote poetic, para-ontological forces that are only tangentially, and ultimately arbitrarily, related to bodies said to be black or transgender. That is to say, they are differently inflected names for an an original lawlessness that marks an escape from confinement and a besidedness to ontology. Manifesting in the modern world differently as race and gender fugitivity, black and trans*, though pointed at by bodies that identify as black or trans*, precede and provide the foundational condition for those fugitive identificatory demarcations. The author seeks to demonstrate the ways in which trans* is black and black is trans*. In what ways, and to what extent, is there a “blackness” present within “trans*-ness,” and vice versa? What is the effect of these analytics? This essay hopes to address these questions but also leave them suspended in black/trans* liminality.

Para-ontological, you see – that means no one can say it’s bullshit, or wrong, or badly argued, or evidence-free, or a joke. It’s para-ontological, you unsophisticated fools.

These here “poetic, para-ontological forces” are only tangentially and arbitrarily related to bodies said to be black or transgender, which also means that no one can say this is a crock of shit. This is how you do scholarship: you say it’s nonsense right at the outset but you say it in pseudo-academic language, and if the journal is fatuous enough to take that at face value, hey presto! You can just blather for 20 pages and the job is done.

… they are differently inflected names for an an original lawlessness that marks an escape from confinement and a besidedness to ontology.

We’ve got lawlessness here! We’re escaping confinement! We’re settling down beside ontology.

I especially love the final sentence.

This essay hopes to address these questions but also leave them suspended in black/trans* liminality.

Aw yeah don’t we all. This piece of writing hopes to say something true and interesting, but in case it fails, it also wants to dangle over an abyss of whatwhatwhatwhat?

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