the nigrescent beyond

What emanates are not the dead, but the indecipherable matter from gaps left within us by the secrets of others.

The Nigrescent Beyond: Mexico, the United States, and the Psychic Vanishing of Blackness endeavors to construct a framework that facilitates an examination of the psychic vanishing of blackness in the Mexican context and a thinking through of how this might nurture and open up related discourses within the United States and the larger field of black studies. It is not a project that desires to collect or catalogue the essence of these vanishings with the aim of restoring any sort of imagined community. It is a modeling of a practice of reading that honors the antagonistic capacity offered by a sustained, if anxious, awareness of what I understand as the nigrescent beyond, or that which lies beyond the horizon of the process of vanishing itself. As such, nigrescence, the process of becoming dark, is mobilized in this book to articulate the contours of a barrier at the limits of a collective imagination, beyond which certain black matter(s) have become and are becoming unreadable even as we read. Objects of study considered in my analysis come from historical accounts detailing maroon activities in early New Spain, contemporary coverage of the push to make legible Afro-Mexican identities, and the works of, among others, Octavio Paz, Ivan Van Sertima, Colson Whitehead, Carlos Fuentes, and Steven Spielberg.

this book is forthcoming from northwestern university press (summer 2020)