On the one hand, Habeas Viscus is concerned with rectifying the short-
comings of “bare life and biopolitics discourse,” and on the other hand,
it suggests from the vantage point of black studies alternate ways of
conceptualizing the place of race, or racializing assemblages, within the
dominion of modern politics. Focusing on the layered interconnected-
ness of political violence, racialization, and the human, I contend that the
concepts of bare life and biopolitics, which have come to dominate con-
temporary scholarly considerations of these questions, are in dire need
of recalibration if we want to understand the workings of and abolish our
extremely uneven global power structures defined by the intersections of
neoliberal capitalism, racism, settler colonialism, immigration, and impe-
rialism, which interact in the creation and maintenance of systems of dom-
ination; and dispossession, criminalization, expropriation, exploitation,
and violence that are predicated upon hierarchies of racialized, gendered,
sexualized, economized, and nationalized social existence.1 Although my
argument resides in the same conceptual borough as Agamben’s bare life,
Foucault’s biopolitics, Patterson’s social death, and, to a certain extent,
Mbembe’s necropolitics, it differs significantly from them, because, as I
show later, these concepts, seen individually and taken as a group, neglect
and/or actively dispute the existence of alternative modes of life alongside
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