9781324090519 198


29 October 2021


Afropessimism is an unparalleled account of the non-analogous experience of being Black.

A seminal work that combines ground-breaking philosophy with searing flights of memoir, Afropessimism presents the tenets of an increasingly influential intellectual movement that theorises blackness through the lens of perpetual slavery. Rather than interpreting slavery through a Marxist framework of class oppression, Frank B. Wilderson III, demonstrates that the social construct of slavery is hardly a relic of the past but an almost necessary force in our civilisation that flourishes today, and that Black struggles cannot be conflated with the experiences of any other oppressed group. In mellifluous prose, he juxtaposes his seemingly idyllic Minneapolis upbringing with the harshness later encountered, whether in Berkeley or Soweto. Afropessimism reverberates with wisdom and painful clarity in the fractured world we inhabit.


"Wilderson’s ambitious book offers its readers two great gifts. First, it strives mightily to make its pessimistic vision plausible. Anyone unconvinced by the vision may find this a dubious contribution, but enough people have been convinced by the view to make an accessible introduction to it a valuable resource just for understanding contemporary intellectual life. Second, the book depicts a remarkable life, lived with daring and sincerity. Afropessimismshares unvarnished glimpses of Wilderson’s childhood, his undergraduate years, his life as a worker and activist between stints in the academy, his graduate studies and their toll on his mental health, his personal relationships, and his experiences as an increasingly well-regarded academic." — Paul C. Taylor, The Washington Post

"There are crucial books that you don’t agree with, but one still comes to understand the importance of the thought experiment. Afropessimism is one of those books." — Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric



140 x 211 mm • 368 pages


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