Objects among objects

in Change and the politics of certainty

This chapter is inspired by Frantz Fanon’s autobiographical account in Black Skin, White Masks of how the racist gaze makes him an object surrounded by other objects. Its narrative charts the author’s intellectual move from an attempt to fathom the world and how it works to an advocacy of what Fanon sees as an everyday openness to each other. In recounting how the family photograph as object survives the living body, and telling of the search for a missing family member in the archives, it traces the interweaving of life and thought over time. It is underpinned by an anger at objectification, and reveals how the unknown has an impact on what and who we think we know.

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