“Philosophy of the disembodied”
Rodriguez, John Esteban
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The point of departure for this thesis is a critique of conventional approaches to “dialogue.” The thesis weaves together Jean-Francois Lyotard’s “differend” with affect theory to heighten and intensify our attention to the “body” in our politics; it will articulate a conceptualization of dialogue that emphasizes, rather than resolves, differences and holds them in embodied suspense. The theoretical framework places the “body,” its entanglements, and its transformations as central to envisioning new modes of responsibility for our reading practices and our social struggles. The theoretical framework preludes a literary case study of a reconfiguration of the racialized “body” in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, a 2015 epistolary memoir about race in America. This thesis ultimately argues that Coates’s idiom “philosophy of the disembodied” pushes us towards new and aporetic hermeneutic practices and modes of responsibility and a different starting place for dialogue.