Black fugitivity as the Ungrund of politics: Insights from London’s riotous geographies

Authors: Toni Adscheid*, Trier Univeristy
Topics: Urban Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: blackness, London, fugitivity, riot, politics
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 10
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this paper, I put forward the question what it would mean to take the notion of fugitivity as method seriously in the analysis of urban politics. Focusing on London’s post-World War II development, I seek to offer a novel perspective onto the riotous geographies of black people. Based on archival research, I explore the (always) ongoing transfiguration of politics in and beyond three often-discussed riots. As such, I engaged with post-foundational political theory and Black fugitive thought in order to think the black Ungrund of politics. Hereby, I focus on fugitive acts through which black people continue to escape notions of Oneness, imposed by (state) politics, and thereby transfigure the tropes of the (im)possible.
Two aspects motivate my spatial focus on London. First, I want to engage with most recent interventions of “US Black Critical thought” (Brar & Sharma 2019) in Anglo-Saxon post-/and decolonial scholarship in which aspects of fugitivity as method tentatively shine through. Examples include, amongst others, the work of Noxolo (2018) and her study on black dance performances in austerity-Britain, Jazeel’s (2018) project on decolonizing the (British) university and Millington’s (2016) account of the 2011 pan-London riots. Secondly, I want to address current debates surrounding Anglo-Saxon urban politics, which are mostly marked by debates whether or not “we” live in a post-political condition and often disregard black thought (see Karaliotas 2020; Shulman 2020). Consequently, the overall aim of this paper is to show that fugitivity as method allows us to think politics excess(ively).

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