Auto-Theory

What is auto-theory? The notion comes up, but is only named, and perhaps enacted in some secret place between the lines of the text, in Frank Wilderson’s Afropessimism. I would claim it is a practice in the marrano register. Through double exclusion the marrano is consigned to a radical non-productivity. Marrano productivity is always melancholy, because it always happens as the consequence of a disavowal: “you don’t want me, so want this,” they say improbably. Auto-theory, which depends also improbably on the friendship of wayward subjects (as Saidiya Hartman calls them), yes, it always takes two, three is better, is a practice of infrapolitical releasement leading nowhere except to unnameable jouissance. Which is better than nothing. It could be the contemporary name of (subaltern) happiness.

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