In Black Interdictions, Philip Kretsedemas exposes the antiblack racism latent in the U.S. government’s Haitian refugee policies of the 1980s and 1990s which set the tone for the criminalization of migrants and refugees in the new millennium and lead to the migration and refugee policies of the Trump era and beyond. This type of radical exclusion is singular to the black experience and the black/nonblack binary must be factored into an analysis of the US migration regime. It is not possible to work together for equity and justice if we are not prepared to grapple with this divisive history and the instinct to avoid dealing with the singularity of the black experience. This book will be of interest to scholars of migration and refugee studies, black studies, legal studies, public policy and international relations, and many others.
Philip Kretsedemas is professor of sociology at University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Introduction: Black Interdictions
Chapter 1: Navigating the Chasm: Antiblackness, Mobilities, and the Law
Chapter 2: Sovereign Bodies and the Law: A Pre-History of the Antiblack Racism Underlying
the US Government’s Haitian Refugee Policies
Chapter 3: Radical Exclusion
Chapter 4: Challenging the Interdictions
Chapter 5: Reconfiguring the Black/Nonblack Binary: The Radical Exclusion of Haitian and
Cuban Refugees in the Era of Operation Sea Signa
Chapter 6: The Radical Exclusion of Haitian, African and Central American Refugees in the
Chapter 7: A Legal Strategy for the End of the World, and Beyond
Starting with U.S. interdiction of Haitian asylum seekers in the 1980s, Kretsedemas reaches into the past and stretches into the future to produce a paradigm-shifting vision of U.S. immigration policy. Black Interdictions retells a familiar history by exposing the ghosts and silences in legal texts, building a profound case for metanarratives of antiblackness that undergird and pervade the law. Kretsedemas’s meticulous analysis, in turn, shatters the silences endemic to migration and refugee studies, exposing the continuities of exclusion from law and humanity of black citizens and noncitizens alike.
Black Interdictions’ study of U.S. policy towards Haitian refugees updates the black studies maxim that the Haitian Revolution changed the course of the modern era. In the process, Kretsedemas has given us the most useful scholarly demonstration to date of how to grasp the “violent transits” of slavery long after the formal institution’s demise. Black Interdictions yokes multiple disciplinary fields of inquiry that have previously sought little interlocution among themselves—and, at the same time, it raises the bar remarkably for migration studies, the sociology of law, and black studies. Kretsedemas interdicts each of these respective fields for, in turn, slighting the “explanatory value of blackness,” neglecting the theoretical intervention that black “fugitive lines of flight” have historically posed to the extra-territorial and extra-judicial space of the high seas, and a scopic underdevelopment in deploying the well-established “archetype of black liberation as self-willed mobility” to generate the invaluable insight of the “plasticity of controlled mobility.” The latter concept is generative not simply for understanding black refugees around the world, but also for ascertaining the parasitic relationship of the world created through slaveholding to the black lives that continue to distend its antiblack coordinates.
Black Interdictions works at but also defines the cutting edge of critical migration studies. Combining legal history along with nuanced theoretical claims, Black Interdictions demands we think differently about race, migration, and mobility.