The Desiring Modes of Being Black is an archeology of desire and blackness. Rocchi pronounces a method of un-writing identity in texts only to interrogate its absences. The welcomed transdisciplinary approach exposes a critical, nuanced re-thinking of Baldwin, Dubois, race, sexuality, psychoanalysis, and others to advance a comprehensive frame to engage with performing blackness. Rocchi’s arguments are enhanced by his thoughtful and incisive writing, which makes the text desirable.
Investigating the theoretical uses and limits of Freudian psychoanalysis, existentialism, phenomenology, deconstruction, and queer theory, Rocchi's Desiring Modes of Being Black disentangles the entrenched entanglements binding race, gender, sexuality, and nationality across vast postcolonial geographies. Framed by poignant Baldwinian self-meditations, Rocchi’s readings of James Baldwin, Melvin Dixon, the South African writer Rozena Maart, and 1990s North American AIDS memoirists, black and white, are methodologically experimental, analytically rigorous, and theoretically exiting. A rich collage of supreme intelligence, this book will conjure an attentive, engaged audience, whose premises about racial and sexual identities will be rattled and disrupted into thoughtful new directions.
The Desiring Modes of Being Black is a nearly impossible thing. At its heart a mapping of a precious space of struggle and inter-locution between Europe, Africa, and America, this book offers inspired readings of key texts and contexts, suggesting that even within the more progressive precincts of African Diaspora Studies we continue to remain trapped within intellectual and discursive silos that posit an artificial distinction between the works of Sigmund Freud and James Baldwin, the AIDS literature of African American men and the ideological complexities of the South African Black Consciousness Movement. In their place, Jean-Paul Rocchi introduces the desiring black subject whose longing opens new and radically innovative pathways to bold yet subtle critique.