Much of this book was written thanks to the Mellon Foundation’s shockingly
generous New Directions Fellowship. It owes singular debts to Laurent Du-
bois, who talked me through almost every step of this project and read care-
fully two versions of this manuscript; Fernando Coronil, thanks to whom I
am at the Graduate Center— his belief in my work was sustaining, and his
intellectual spirit inspiring; Susan Buck-Morss, a passionate and committed
thinker, with whom I have enjoyed the adventure of intellectual collabora-
tion; and Louise Lennihan, whose extraordinary eff orts have made me at
home at the Graduate Center. Special thanks are due to Souleymane Bachir
Diagne, Jean Casimir, Mamadou Diouf, Michel Giraud, and Achille Mbembe,
specialists in the areas that I explore, whose encouragement and suggestions
made all the diff erence.
My thinking in this book has been incubated through dialogue with
dear friends and colleagues whose insights have been invaluable gift s: Dan
Birkholz, Yarimar Bonilla, Mayanthi Fernando, Jennifer Friedlander, Vinay
Gidwani, Manu Goswami, Philip Gourevitch, Henry Krips, Jeff rey Melnick,
Paul Saint- Amour, Marina Sitrin, Judith Surkis, Massimiliano Tomba, and
Matthew Trachman. It has benefi ted greatly from discussions with cuny
colleagues who humble me with their intelligence and generosity: notably
Anthony Alessandrini, Talal Asad, Herman Bennett, Claire Bishop, Kandice
Chuh, John Collins, Vincent Crapanzano, Gerald Creed, Duncan Faherty,
Sujatha Fernandes, David Harvey, Dagmar Herzog, Mandana Limbert, Mi-
chael Menser, Uday Singh Mehta, Julie Skurksi, and Neil Smith. Stellar doc-
toral students who commented on sections include Neil Agarwal, James Blair,
Lydia Brassard, Megan Brown, Ezgi Canpolat, Jill Cole, Jennifer Corby, Sam
Daly, Mark Drury, Melis Ece, Mohammed Ezzeldin, Timothy Johnson,
Ahilan Kadirgamar, Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb, Fiona Lee, Shea McManus,
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