Black and Blur
Author: Fred Moten
Publisher: Duke University Press (2017)
In Black and Blur—the first volume in his sublime and compelling trilogy consent not to be a single being—Fred Moten engages in a capacious consideration of the place and force of blackness in African diaspora arts, politics, and life. In these interrelated essays, Moten attends to entanglement, the blurring of borders, and other practices that trouble notions of self-determination and sovereignty within political and aesthetic realms. Black and Blur is marked by unlikely juxtapositions: Althusser informs analyses of rappers Pras and Ol' Dirty Bastard; Shakespeare encounters Stokely Carmichael; thinkers like Kant, Adorno, and José Esteban Muñoz and artists and musicians including Thornton Dial and Cecil Taylor play off each other. Moten holds that blackness encompasses a range of social, aesthetic, and theoretical insurgencies that respond to a shared modernity founded upon the sociological catastrophe of the transatlantic slave trade and settler colonialism. In so doing, he unsettles normative ways of reading, hearing, and seeing, thereby reordering the senses to create new means of knowing.
"Simply put, Moten is offering up some of the most affecting, most useful, theoretical thinking that exists on the planet today.... Moten’s work makes the activities of reading and thinking feel palpably fresh, weird, and vital."
"Some readers will come here because of The Feel Trio, because of The Undercommons. Some because Moten is the activists’ theorist, the contemporary art institution’s darling, because of performance studies, jazz studies, literature. Some readers will come here to encounter a brain that is at once more erudite, generous, capacious, fierce, jokey and infuriating than most others on the planet right now. Everybody ought to arrive here to be schooled and troubled, elated and confused, invited and indicted by a sparklingly original vision for black study."