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Audre Lorde's Anti-Imperial Consciousness

Jack Turner, “Audre Lorde’s Anti-Imperial Consciousness," Political Theory 49.2 (April 2021): 243-271.

Providing the first extended analysis of Audre Lorde’s critique of the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada, this essay argues that Lorde’s critique models a form of anti-imperial consciousness that is still morally and politically instructive. Anti-imperial consciousness entails examining oneself for complicities with empire’s ravages, on the one hand, and solidarities with empire’s subjects, on the other. Lorde aims to generate in her readers (1) a sense of horror at the ways they may be morally implicated in U.S. imperial injustice and (2) a more intense identification with empire’s non-U.S. victims. Lorde’s goal is to free her audience from what she calls the “mistaken mirage of patriotism” and propel them to anti-imperial action. Illuminating Lorde’s economic socialism and anti-imperialist internationalism—two subjects still overshadowed by her more famous work on anger, the erotic, and the master’s tools—the essay contributes to the ongoing elaboration of the Afro-modern tradition of political thought.

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