The Minoritarian and Black Reason: A Philosophico-Literary Investigation addresses the question, how can we understand and relate responsibly to others who differ from us in our everyday concerns? The work looks at theories about difference in a variety of philosophical texts and novels from the early modern and modern periods to examine their various approaches to the problem of representational language. The author discusses how these distinct methods of thought present the Black-figure, and critiques how imagined blackness or Black reason willfully looks away from the African presence. Central to this inquiry are key concepts from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in a description of the minoritarian as a non-representational method that discloses affective intensity in naked life (zoe), beings of the sensible (sentiendum), and personae. So, it is presented as a third term in an ungrounded field of experience composed of assemblages or social networks. Hence, the book deconstructs a unified structuralist ontology to propose a line of flight from a model of logic used to objectify and reproduce identities of people from a varied sphere of political rights (bios).
D. Nandi Odhiambo is associate professor of English at the University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu.
Chapter 1: What is the Minoritarian Method?
Chapter 2: Correspondence & Representation in the Majoritarian
Chapter 3: Phenomenology & The Minoritarian
Chapter 4: James Baldwin's Another Country as an Abstract Machine
Chapter 5: House of Hunger, Dambudzso Marechera
Just like his fiction, D. Nandi Odhiambo’s The Minoritarian and Black Reason is simultaneously a work of ethics and aesthetics that disturbs the dogmatic image of thought. From readings of Kafka’s A Hunger Artist, to Dambudzo Marechera’s The House of Hunger, The Minoritarian assembles a cast of thinkers who creatively produce a language within language by refusing the call of standardized sameness.
According to Nandi Odhiambo’s breathtakingly cerebral interrogation of European Caucasian philosophy of the modern era (i.e., the period of Transatlantic Slavery and European Imperialist
Colonization of Africa, plus “Native” attempts at Desegregation and Decolonization), the paleface paragons of Reason have been no better than high-collared or dog-collared bounty hunters, still in dogmatic pursuit of the still-in-flight, Black Refugee or Fugitive subject. Odhiambo reads (or arraigns) Descartes, Defoe, Kant, et al., to picture their thought as attempts to chase down (in bluesy metaphor) the Image of the African persona and to perennially pen (pun intended) this Other within the category of the barbaric, the backward, the recidivist, the unenlightened, the criminal. While conducting this forensic analysis, Odhiambo posits “minoritarian” thought as the black battering ram that consistently bursts open the would-be penitentiary that is White (Authoritarian) Rule—or “majoritarian” thought. For Odhiambo, the struggle for emancipation is unfinished—unless and until the Ivory Tower ceases to be a guard-tower for imprisoned Black subjects, falsely regarded. He reads like Fanon matched with Morrison—or like Angela Davis and Nanny-of-the-Maroons, making guerilla raids against plantations of racialist (in)articulation.