© 2018

An Africana Philosophy of Temporality

Homo Liminalis


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Michael E. Sawyer
    Pages 1-33
  3. Michael E. Sawyer
    Pages 35-81
  4. Michael E. Sawyer
    Pages 83-162
  5. Michael E. Sawyer
    Pages 163-272
  6. Michael E. Sawyer
    Pages 273-296
  7. Michael E. Sawyer
    Pages 297-320
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 321-341

About this book


This book is a timely intervention in the areas of philosophy, history, and literature. As an exploration of the modern political order and its racial genealogy, it emerges at a moment when scholars and activists alike are wrestling with how to understand subject formation from the perspective of the subordinated rather than from dominant social and philosophical modes of thought. For Sawyer, studying the formation of racialized subjects requires a new imagining of marginalized subjects. Black subjectivity is not viewed from the static imaginings of social death, alienation, ongoing abjection, or as a confrontation with the treat of oblivion. Sawyer innovates the term "fractured temporality," conceptualizing Black subjects as moving within and across temporalities in transition, incorporated, yet excluded, marked with the social death of Atlantic slavery and the emergent political orders it etched, and still capable of exerting revolutionary force that acts upon, against, and through racial oppression.


foucault slavery middle passage black lives matter ralph ellison

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Colorado CollegeColorado Springs, COUSA

About the authors

Michael Sawyer is an assistant professor of Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies and the Department of English at Colorado College, USA.

Bibliographic information


“Remember when people did theory with the honest and genuine aim of exploring philosophical and literary ideas with the hope of opening new ways of seeing rather than paying lip service to the big names and tired old chestnuts?  Well, here is Michael Sawyer.  His understanding and control of the ideas of Foucault and Fanon are impressive, but it is when he turns to Hegel that this text becomes beautifully arresting, confusing and fun.” (Percival Everett, Distinguished Professor of English, University of Southern California, USA)

“Bold, provocative, and grabbing, readers will acquire a powerful critical hermeneutics: Homo Liminalis. Sawyer’s remarkable homo liminalis is a conceptual and accessible contribution that reflects on and activates the breaks, the openings, or simply the cracks that occasion a new historical reality of the present for the subject. Sawyer’s insights––philosophical maps of ontological, conceptual, or evacuated bodies––are non-stop brilliance.” (Claudia Milian, Associate Professor of Romance Studies, Duke University, USA)

“Michael Sawyer’s new book is a bold, sweeping and original work, which frontally tackles the grand philosophical questions of sovereignty, subjectivity, temporality, and ultimately the meaning of the human. He utilizes, among others, W.E.B. Dubois, Frantz Fanon and especially Sylvia Wynter, in a sustained critique of Hegel’s Master-Slave dialectic. This is essential reading for students of political philosophy, Africana philosophy, critical race theory, cultural studies and any discerning thinker.” (Brian Meeks, Chair of Africana Studies/Rites and Reason Theatre, Brown University, USA)