Anthropology Seminar Series - Brackette F. Williams, University of Arizona

Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 16:00 to 18:00
Anthropology Seminar Room, RH2.20 Rowan House

Black at the Bone: Race as a Semaphore Language for Assessing Moral Order

Brackette F. Williams
Associate Professor
University of Arizona

Guinier and Torres (2002) treated the miner’s canary as a metaphor for political race and, earlier, Copeland (1939) had investigated Negro as a moral contrast conception. Building on these insights, I argue that within the Atlantic World and its circuits of influence, race-as-blackness-descended-from-slavery-indentureship-conquest is a syncategorematic in semaphore language by which the social order’s morality is assessed. The signs, signals, symbols, and metaphors of this language shape practices that legitimate a mode of production that converts suffering and degradations and its conditions of existence into capital.