Affects of Racialization
Blickstein, Tamar – 2019
Racialization is a phenomenon deeply embedded in affective logics, practices, and histories, and is a paradigmatically affective process in its own right. Yet affect studies as a subfield has not made “race” a central focus of scrutiny. This chapter proposes “affects of racialization” as a useful conceptual frame for analyzing racialization’s affective dimensions through the perspectives of history, theory, and environment. I first historicize affects of racialization as a tool of colonial domination, and critically consider the ways affect theories themselves have historically been vectors of racialized biopolitics. I then delineate the theoretical contours of the concept by drawing on Fanon’s foundational affect theory, and argue for treating racialization as a paradigmatic affective phenomenon. Finally, I draw on ethnographic case studies of environmental racism in the Americas, showing how affects of racialization reinforce environmental modes of dispossession today, but also, how they are overturned through decolonial acts of refusal.