SenseLab, Concordia University, Canada
Two phrases haunt my thinking. The first comes from Fred Moten: all black life is neurodiverse life. It might also have been black life is always neurodiverse life. The second is approximation of proximity. The feeling is that the ambiguity of memory in the first has a connection to the approximation of the second. Moten’s words, written in a manuscript review before the publication of The Minor Gesture in 2016 felt vitally important when I received them. But The Minor Gesture was already too close to completion to fully carry the force of the proposition, and so, while I did signal it in the book, I decided to make Moten’s words the fugitive force of the thinking to follow. I say fugitive force both to carry forward Moten and Harney’s concept of fugitivity, and to emphasize that this is how work comes into itself: with the quality of a reorientation moved by a spark that connects to an intensity already moving transversally across a work. This is what Moten’s words did: their deep thinking-with exposed the stakes of what stirred as yet unthought in the thinking. This fugitivity at the heart of thought is what I want to address here. For what Moten’s words did at that singular moment of writing/thinking was create an opening for thought to travel in directions as yet in germ.
This kind of proximity is something else than citation. How can I properly cite Moten when I am no longer even certain which phrase it was that changed the path of my research? An approximation of proximity might be said to be an alliance with thought-in-the-making, an engagement with the edges of how thinking itself does its work. This is what I heard in Moten’s gesture: that there was space for a thinking-alongside that could bring into relation the concept of black life and the claim that neurotypicality is nothing else than an articulation of whiteness at work. That there was in the work of The Minor Gesture an incipient potential for neurodiversity and black life to come into alliance in a way that would not reduce them one to the other but generate a complementarity. The generosity of the thinking-with extended by Moten in his engagement with The Minor Gesture is what lured the writing-to-come into the proximity of black life, an approximation since there can only be a speculative engagement with a question as complex as the one of black life, especially when written from outside the culture of its sociality.
The task was gargantuan. It involved acquainting myself with decades of Black Studies to explore within this rich literature openings toward the complementarity of black life and neurodiversity. It also involved returning to the field of neurodiversity to explore whether the terminology of the neurological was really where I wanted to situate the discussion. It had always been clear to me that the neuro in neurodiversity was not, for the most part, the site of my inquiry: my work has aimed to sidestep the neuroreductionism that I believe shuts down the political and social force of the movement for neurodiversity. While much of my work on autistic perception does emphasize neurological difference, and while I am certain that neurological difference is a formative effect in the variation designated by the term neurodiversity, my interest is in the diversity in diversity, locating the neurotypical not as the measure of an individual diametrically opposed to the neurodiverse but as the (unspoken) baseline of existence. I see neurotypicality as akin to structural racism – as the infusion of white supremacy in the governing definition of what counts as human. The assumption that neurotypicality is the neutral ground from which difference asserts itself (an assumption everywhere supported by the neuroscientific literature) suggests that there is still an urgent conversation to be had about how the human, and knowledge as human category more broadly, is organized and deployed in the image of neurotypicality. The decision to continue to work with the neuro in neurodiversity is therefore less an alignment to the neurological per se than an engagement with the presuppositions of neurology as a science for and of the (neurotypical, white) human that far too rarely call into question the assumptions that underlie either its humanism or the categorical imperative to perform according to its normative expectations. To address this is to continue the work I began in The Minor Gesture, the work of questioning the volition-intentionality-agency triad at the heart of neurotypicality, that presupposition of (white) existence that places individual executive agency as the motivator of all experience. What of the agencement of forces that compose to facilitate an event’s coming into expression? What of the being of relation? A deep commitment to the sociality of facilitation is at work in my refusal of neuroreductionism, pushing back against the neurotypical presupposition that to do it alone, to do it individually, is to be truly human.
Writing diagonally across this question, Moten addresses that most baseline of neurological apparatuses: executive function. If executive function, the site of planning in the brain, is altered by a neurological twist, must the assumption always be that this results in a lack of capacity simply because the work at hand requires facilitation? What value-system is at work here? What is formulated about the value of independence? ‘Black Study’, Moten writes, ‘moves at the horizon of an event where certain instruments, insofar as they can no longer either calculate or be calculated, are bent toward the incalculable’ (2018: 162). The incalculable here is the very question of value. ‘The assignment of a specific value to the incalculable is a kind of terror. At the same time, the incalculable is the very instantiation of value’ (2018: 169). Across the thought of value and the incalculable I hear: what might be learned from the fugitive planning of neurodiverse modes of sociality, and how is this sociality allied to Black Study? What is planning’s approximation in that encounter? What are the consequences of even assuming that the form of planning we understand as executive function, that planning that defines human volition as lone contributor to existence, is a value (has a value) in itself? How does fugitive planning accommodate the kind of being of relation that not only supports facilitation but actively seeks it out?
Moten doesn’t lay any of this out the way I am doing it here – a too-quick read of the powerful chapter from Stolen Life I am thinking-with would probably not reproduce, for most readers, the stakes I am outlining. The diagonality with which the issues are addressed is part of Moten’s project, however. For to give in to an executive way of writing about executive function would be to support the value-system it depends on.
A diagonal approach allows the unanswerable to remain unanswerable: neither in my engagement with executive function nor in Moten’s work is there the presumption that executive function does not have a vital place in existence. This not only because executive function really is affected in autism and in certain other neurodiverse forms of life (schizophrenia, ADD/ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, OCD),  but also because, after being treated for decades as cognitively deficient, it is often a relief for autistics to map their difference onto executive function. Nor does this engagement with executive function and Black Study mean to suggest in any way that black folks in general have impaired executive function – such a claim would be ludicrous. The aim is altogether elsewhere: to underscore the relation between executive function and whiteness through the prism of neurotypicality’s adhesion to an unchecked narrative of superior functioning. To explore how neurotyicality, as a largely unspoken category of existence that nonetheless undergirds every decision made in the name of normopathy, performs a continual selection of who is valued, of who is recognized as truly human. The aim is this: to inquire into how black life, or black sociality – which is to say modes of life that include but also exceed epidermiality – practice a fugitive planning that is in alliance with neurodiverse sociality, and outline how this fugitivity upends the presuppositions executive function carries.
And so to write diagonally is, in a sense, the only way to write about this, and this is what I take to be Moten’s ethos in tackling the assumptions that come with the positioning of executive function as that which makes us truly human. Continuing on the diagonal, I follow Moten’s lead:
This is an enthusiasm. This is the new thing and a lot of what it’s about is just trying to figure out how to say something. How to read. Not (or not only) how to offer a reading, or even an interpretation, but a performance of a text, in the face of its unintelligibility, as if one were forced/privileged to access some other other world where representation and unrepresentability were beside the point, so that the response to the terrors and chances of history were not about calculation, not bound to replicate, even in a blunted and ethically responsible way, the horrors of speculation, where new materialities of imagination were already on the other side of the logic of equivalence.
I’m trying to talk about zones of miscommunication + areas of disaster + their affective ground and atmosphere and terrible beauty. They’re the same but really close to one another but unbridgeably far from one another, connected by some inside stories we keep running from, the way people flee a broken park when the island is a shipwreck. The crumbled refuge is a hold and a language lab. (2018: 167-168)
The problem with neurotypicality as unspoken marker of how living and learning should be done is that there is no opportunity to ask the question of how the conditions for knowing are laid within its scaffold. Autistic Ryan Boren writes:
The hardest part to navigate is not so much the teeming ambiguity; it’s the assumption. It’s the self-centering, automatic and unaware, that reduces ambiguity to an ethnocentric ‘right answer’ or ‘right behavior’ and leaves little room for autistic sociality. Instead of ‘foregrounding complexity as the baseline’, we bury it with myths of normality that create structural barriers and exclude people. We pathologize and marginalize the minds and bodies that sense ambiguity and assumption the most deeply and feel their results the most acutely. So much is lost in the reduction. Acknowledging ambiguity, multiple literacies, and multiple socialities renders the terrain more passable rather than less. Ambiguity is actually something to be embraced rather than to be avoided. It is an inevitable feature of human discourse. Compassionately accepting our ambiguities and differing literacies means less masking and passing and burning out—and better communication. 
Autistic socialities are lost in the count, in the assumption that the planning that doesn’t quite plan according to the presumptions of what comes first is simply the mark of a deficiency. A lack of function. This is what Moten means, I think, when he speaks of the incalculable as both a kind of terror and as the very instantiation of value. What is incalculable here is sociality itself: sociality exceeds the count. It has no function. Its very existence depends on its never being valued in advance of its coming-to-be. Fugitive planning.
Executive function could be described as that singular capacity for subtraction those on the neurotyical edge of the spectrum take for granted. This includes a task like picking up a glass off the table. In order for planning to occur, there must be a subtraction from the environment, a backgrounding of all else: executive functions ‘share the need to disengage from the immediate environment to guide actions’ (Hill, 2004: 2). To pick up that glass involves actively unseeing all else. Zeroing in is not easy when the ray of light is catching the mirror and the smell of pancakes is luring a body toward the stove. But none of this means the glass can’t be picked up. It just means that the process is felt as a process, whereas for more neurotypically-spectrummed folks, everything else just doesn’t appear. The richness of what is lost in the subtraction is what interests me here. What is at work in the belief that proper subtraction is the key to experience?
My aim here is not to dispute that many neurodiverse folks have affected executive function. Nor is it to suggest that the tasks that require solid executive function – reading and following a recipe, tying your shoes, crossing the street – are unimportant. And, because much of my recent work has been on autistic perception – that capacity for fielding the ray of sunlight and the smell of pancakes in the very act of orienting toward the glass – I won’t dwell on that here either, though I do want to sidle the more-than that gesture carries with the notion of black sociality. What I want to emphasize is how the narrative around planning foregrounded in executive function and its unbreakable tie to neurotypicality excludes the more-than of experience in the making. That is to say, I want to ask how neurotypicality, in its alignment to executive function, demands of existence that it conform to an existing map of procedural orientation that is, by its very operation, incapable of seeing other modes of existence. And I want to suggest that these other modes of existence, what might be called autistic sociality, or black sociality, or simply black life, are excluded from the neurotypical precisely because of its need to plan, count, to organize, to select-out, to value. Neurodiversity’s power is to feel the blur, the ambiguity, the fugitivity. What I am arguing for is the anexact: approximation of proximity.
Neurodiverse sociality is an approximation of proximity. Its mode of planning is oblique. This is what I hear in Boren’s words. It is clear that the assumption of commonality played out in the choreography of neurotypicality excludes neurodiverse sociality and all the slanted forces that come with it. There is in fact a forceful negation of any kind of sociality in neurodiversity. Haven’t we all heard that autistics are asocial? ‘[A]utism is frequently storied as an epic in asociality, in nonintention. It represents the edges and boundaries of humanity, a queerly crip kind of isolationism’ (Yergeau, 2018: 11). Neurodiverse sociality doesn’t even register on the plane of neurotypicality: its mode of listening is too askew, its glance furtively avoiding that frontal faciality that presupposes the common, or at least pretends to. This is where I want to go with the words all black life is neurodiverse life, toward the undercommonness of sociality.
Approximation of proximity is a way of attuning to the fugitivity heard in the otherwise coming-into-sociality across black life and neurodiverse life. Approximation of proximity is a way of speaking about two divergent planes not converging as though they could become one, but meeting at the differential of their potential for proximity. For isn’t sociality precisely that which sidles proximity differently, that which asks how else a coming-together-in-difference can be felt? Or, in Denise Ferreira da Silva’s words, difference without separability? 
How, in the differential of black sociality, or what Laura Harris calls the ‘aesthetic sociality of blackness’, are aesthetic propositions for living otherwise crafted, and carried. For Harris, ‘[t]he aesthetic sociality of blackness is an improvised political assemblage that resides in the heart of the polity but operates under its ground and on its edge’ (2012: 53). In the operation ‘under ground and on edge’, black sociality invents sites of collective expression rather than simply inhabiting them.
Its resources, which can never be fully accessed by the structures and authorities of legitimate political economy, are taken up by the politically and economically illegitimate in their insistence on living otherwise, in ways that resist repression, denigration, and exclusion and violate brutally imposed laws of property and propriety. (Harris, 2012: 53)
Black sociality grows in the between of ad-hoc constructions for a life in the making.
There are of course as many definitions of black sociality as there are of actualizations of the fugitive undercommons they seed. I think here of Terrion L. Williamson’s account of her grandmother and the black sociality of a feminist non-academic environment that taught her to live and love differently. ‘To speak of black social life is to speak of this radical capacity to live – to live deeply righteous lives even in the midst of all that brings death close or, as Lucille Clifton puts it, to celebrate “everyday / something has tried to kill me / and has failed”’ (2017: 9). I think also of Rizvana Bradley’s curated days of black study, two of which I attended in 2018 – one in Amsterdam as part of a collaboration between the Rietveld and the Stedelijk,  the other in Paris, a collaboration between the University of the Arts and the Centre National de la Danse.  Neither of these gatherings could be reduced to the quality of the academic conference or round table. What was curated in each was the gesture of sociality itself. This was activated less through the actual articulation of what an aesthetics of black sociality might be than through a dramaturgy that foregrounded an ethos of coming into relation, and an engagement with how the forces of relation could carry difference. A site for thinking-together was generated that truly allowed a coming-into-itself of thought. This kind of emergent sociality is incalculably valuable.
Jared Sexton’s uncountable account of black sociality also moves through these pages. Echoing Nahum Chandler, he asks:
What is the nature of a form of being that presents a problem for the thought of being itself? […] How might it be thought that there exists a being about which the question of its particular being is the condition of possibility and the condition of impossibility for any thought about being whatsoever? (2011: 6)
Alongside, I hear the halting words of autistic DJ Savarese, then in eighth grade, in Estimating Harriet Tubman Respectfully: ‘Pedestals rest on hurt, great, estimated dressed not great human beings deserted by frees’.  I remember these words not only because they haunt me, but also because it struck me then how intuitive it was for Savarese, still uneasily coming to language through facilitated communication, to connect to a figure like Harriet Tubman, and to see her as a hero for neurodiversity.
The echo of Sexton’s painful words – ‘What can be said about such a being, and how, if at stake in the question is the very possibility of human being and perhaps even possibility as such? What is the being of a problem?’ (2011: 7) – is heard in Savarese’s grasping toward freedom:
If we’re breaking the barriers, great freedom fearfully awaits. Harriet realized until freedom treated her people with respect, her intestines seemed unsettled, her heart beat resentfully, and her fear never disappeared. The challenges she faced each day were far greater than anything you and your people have ever endured; breathing resentful air, great very hard breaths, undermines heartfelt feeling and deeply effects the western world. 
Hearing Savarese across Sexton makes felt what is often missed in autistic accounts: the ache of a sociality so deeply different from neurotypical interaction, or what Savarese calls easy-breathing. Although he would later recognize that easy-breathing – living beyond anxiety – was not all it was cut out to be – what Savarese already intuited at age 12 or 13 was that what was called freedom leaned in too closely toward neurotypicality.
In autism, so much weight is placed on independence – independence the only real marker for intellectual capacity.  A decade into the future, Savarese now writes:
For too long I have dreamed of independence. Again and Again, I have spoken of getting free. I have envied the ease with which the non-disabled can walk on the moon or tie their shoes underwater. They are circus performers, talented chimpanzees. Tonight I will dream of being dependent, dependable. 
Refuting the status of ‘self-made plant’, Savarese opts for the symbiotic vine, that abundant ecology that ‘[goes] deep and thus [does] not compete with the broader and shallower root systems of trees’.  Lest the reader see the vine as innocuous, however, Savarese is quick to emphasize:
I had to learn to live with a vine that encircled my heart, at times nearly choking it. I had to think of the vine as needing help, wanting a relationship. The climbing rose uses its thorns to ascent. Like a rash, it breaks into blossom. Make room for everything, I told myself. 
Freedom, Savarese learns, does not come with independence. It comes like a vine, attached to all that brings the suffering of an allegiance to modes of living deeply in contestation with neurotypicality’s obsession with individualist independence. The vine is a reminder: the being of relation is created in the undercommons of an existence deeply dependent on the ecologies that shape it. Perhaps this is also a definition of an aesthetic of black sociality. To quote Moten again:
Does black life, in its irreducible and impossible sociality and precisely in what might be understood as its refusal of the status of social life that is refused it, constitute a fundamental danger—an excluded but immanent disruption—to social life? What will it have meant to embrace this matrix of im/possibility, to have spoken of and out of this suspension? What would it mean to dwell on or in minor social life? This set of questions is the position, which is also to say the problem, of blackness. (Moten, 2008: 188)
What kind of differential is created here, in the interstices of minor social life that bring black life and neurodiversity into relation?
It is the incalculability of black sociality, of minor social life, that has resonated most in my engagement with Black Study, and it is this quality of resistance to the count that I cull from the refrain all black life is neurodiverse life, an approximation I also hear in Williamson when she emphasizes the ‘irreducible sociality of black life’, an ‘eschewal and critique of the affliction of privilege that resides in the preoccupation with the individual self’ (2017: 19). What is lived, what is carried over, in the gesture that refutes the standing-out of the individual as executive purveyor of existence? The violence is in the exclusion of black life, of neurodiverse life, from neurotypicality and the category it upholds at all costs, the human. The joy, the power, is how minor social life cuts through the very register of the neurotypical. How it refuses it by claiming value otherwise. How it skews it by perceiving the more-than. How it queers it through fugitive planning.
In What is Philosophy, Deleuze and Guattari propose the conceptual persona as the philosophical figure that directs, names and dates a concept. The conceptual persona is a way of gesturing toward the sociality of the concept, reminding us that despite the orientation that comes with a name and a date, the concept is never borne of an individual. Concepts are gathered in the sociality of existence: they are brought forth by a multiplicity. This multiplicity connects to a mode of existence already in germ. This is why concepts can never be considered ‘ready-made’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1994: 5). Concepts are made in the activation of the ecology they gather forth.
Concepts are in and of a fugitive elsewhere. Whoever is named in the creation of a concept is a carrier. Their role is not to claim it but to see how its carrying into the world alters the place from which thinking moves. A concept shifts the conditions of existence by affecting everything around it, including the one who is named in relation to it. This is why Deleuze and Guattari emphasize that ‘a particular conceptual persona, who perhaps did not exist before us, thinks in us’ (1994: 69). Spoken always in the voice of a third, the conceptual persona ‘is not formed but posits itself in itself – it is a self-positing’ (1994: 11).
A concept is not a general category. It does not claim to encapsulate. It is not a metaphor. It cannot be debated. A concept is an intensive feature, an intercessor into thought.
The conceptual persona is not the philosopher’s representative but, rather, the reverse: the philosopher is only the envelope of his principal conceptual persona and of all the other personae who are the intercessors, the real subjects of the philosophy. (Deleuze and Guattari, 1994: 64, translation modified)
In the writing, the philosopher is taken over, oriented by the forces of an intensity that calls forth a certain urgency of precision – this way, under these conditions – learning with the concept as it unfolds how to modulate what comes into contact with it. To find a concept is to touch on a nerve of experience, to catch the necessity of its naming. What is formed in this gesture is an operative proposition, an intercessor capable of catching in a word, in a phrase, experience moved. None of this is an individual’s work. The writing, the thinking-with, the collaborating is what brings the concept to expression. A concept is oriented by the path it draws forth. The concept is less ours to claim than ours to follow.
Moving-with the concept of black sociality, a concept always moved by a crowd, a concept already too social to be carried by any one thinker, we come into an approximation of proximity with the question of value, the question of how black life is neurodiverse life is asked in practice: what is captured, what is cut, what is deviated and detoured in the coming into relation of minor sociality? What is created? What is left behind? How else is always a question.
To return to executive function once more before closing:
I want to suggest that it is something other than anti-intellectualism to think that what the executive excludes is a vast range of extrarational relations for which we cannot, strictly speaking, account; relations, which is to say things, that cannot be accounted for because they cut and augment inference; things like whatever occurs when believing P and believing Q is more or less and/or more and less than P and Q. All the things we are are more and less than selves. (Moten, 2018: 164)
A writing-with an aesthetics of black sociality returns in a continuous refrain to ‘the vast range of extrarational relations for which we cannot, strictly speaking, account; relations, which is to say things, that cannot be accounted for because they cut and augment inference’. What remains incalculable for Moten is value itself, a value for modes of knowing unstratified, anexecutive. What must remain incalculable is the very question of the being of relation. What is produced in the interstices is not an account of how black life is neurodiverse, or how neurodiversity is black. It is the being of the relation itself that is prodded, not to create a count, but to better account for the incalculability at its core.
In ‘Executive dysfunction in autism’, Elisabeth Hill writes: ‘Poor mental flexibility is illustrated by perseverative, stereotyped behaviour and difficulties in the regulation and modulation of motor acts. This indicates problems in the ability to shift to a different thought or action according to changes in a situation’ (2004: 4). What is this mental flexibility bestowed so easily onto neurotypicals? Or, to put it differently, what is it that neurotypicals can’t see about the exquisite mental flexibility in an account of vines that at once strangle a heart and feed the ecologies they sustain? The deficit here is not one of executive function. The deficit is in the attunement to what else circulates across and beneath and around those strangling, proprietary structures that uphold the horror of violent exclusion.
If black life is ‘an exorbitance for thought’, as Chandler suggests, ‘the negro […] an instance outside of all forms of being that truly matter’, what is called for can never simply be a question of rehabilitation (2014: 607-608). What is called for is not, as Harris might say, an inhabiting, but a continual remaking, an inventing from the edges, an undercommoning. This is what I learn from Black Study: that minor sociality is a way of thinking beyond rehabilitation, beyond a logic of reparations, beyond any account that would represent black life as adjacent to, or simply against whiteness. That would be to take on the structural weight of a racism that has shaped the very concept of whiteness: neurotypicality. Minor sociality does not compose existence according to the pathology of its planning. Black life is exorbitant thought, lived beyond the shape it knows how to take, lived through a living both flexible and fugitive, in approximation of proximity.
Erin Manning is a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). She is also the founder of SenseLab (www.senselab.ca), a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. Current art projects are focused around the concept of minor gestures in relation to colour and movement. Art exhibitions include the Sydney and Moscow Biennales, Glasshouse (New York), Vancouver Art Museum, McCord Museum (Montreal) and House of World Cultures (Berlin) and Galateca Gallery (Bucarest). Publications include For a Pragmatics of the Useless (Duke UP, forthcoming), The Minor Gesture (Duke UP, 2016), Always More Than One: Individuation’s Dance (Duke UP, 2013), Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009) and, with Brian Massumi, Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (Minnesota UP, 2014).
 Pathologizing only takes us so far, so I would always be careful with accounts of impaired executive function. Nonetheless, there seems to be a consensus that there are marked differences in the use of planning amongst those who are aligned to these categories, including those whose frontal lobes are damages through stroke. Hill writes: ‘Executive functions are typically impaired in patients with acquired damage to the frontal lobes as well as in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that are likely to involve congenital deficits in the frontal lobes. Such clinical disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, phenylketonuria, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder’ (2004: 2).
 Boren, 2018.
 See Denise Ferreira da Silva ‘On Difference Without Separability’ in the catalogue for the 32a Sao Paolo Biennale, Incerteza Viva (Living Uncertainty). Sao Paolo Fundacao Biennal de Sao Paolo, 2016.
 For an important piece on facilitated communication and the question of independence, see Ralph Savarese ‘Anna Stubblefield and Facilitated Communication’, in Steve Kuusisto. Planet of the Blind.
- Boren, Ryan. ‘Anxiety, Ambiguity, and Autistic Perception’, Ryan Boren blog, May 3, 2018. httpss://boren.blog/2018/05/03/anxiety-ambiguity-and-autistic-perception/
- Chandler, Nahum. X- The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014).
- Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. What is Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).
- Harris, Laura. ‘What Happened to the Motley Crew?: CLR James, Helio Oiticica, and the Aesthetic Sociality of Blackness’, Social Text 30.3 (112) (2012).
- Hill, Elisabeth L. ‘Executive Dysfunction in Autism’, Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8.1 (January, 2004).
- Manning, Erin. The Minor Gesture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016).
- Moten, Fred. Stolen Life (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018).
- —. ‘The Case of Blackness’, Criticism. 50.2 (2008).
- Savarese, DJ. ‘Passive Plants’, Iowa Review 47.1 (2017).
- —. ‘Estimating Harriet Tubman Respectfully’, DJ’s Writings, July 7, 2005. https://www.ralphsavarese.com/reasonable-people/djs-writings/video-estimating-harriet-tubman-respectfully/
- Sexton, Jared. ‘The Social Life of Social Death: On Afro-Pessimism and Black Optimism’, InTensions 5 (2011).
- Williamson, Terrion L. Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life (New York: Fordham, 2017).