From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Blackness, epiphenomenal reality, and “our painfully shared humanity”: an interview with Michelle M. Wright

Renata Morresi


Renata Morresi interviews Michelle W. Wright about the origins and function of her concept of time, which she began to explore in Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). ‘Epiphenomenal time’ challenges the supposedly objective view of time that we usually adopt and, in doing so, expands and deepens the notion of Blackness by identifying its ‘where’ and ‘when’ rather than just the ‘what’, thus shedding light on the blind spots of history, including the subjects who have traditionally been marginalized by overly linear narratives, and making us aware of the presence of the past in the now. Discussing Black women who made important cultural contributions that have long been misrepresented, such as Black Renaissance writer Nella Larsen and jazz trumpeter Valaida Snow, and considering speculative writers such as Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin, Wright discusses the polydimensionality of complicated identities that cannot be easily classified and invites us to explore "our painfully shared humanity” and the possibilities for change.


Time, epiphenomenal time, history, progress, Blackness, race, Black women



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