The genre rules that I am subject to here require a listing of
debts owed to various persons. However, given the stifling
economization of so many aspects of life in late capitalism, I
prefer to think of such contributions to life and work as aneconomic gifts.
As I discuss in my book, the gift, as theorized by Du Bois and several
others, functions as both an oﬀering and a poison, and that is what these
people have given me, by oﬀering their thoughts, time, energy, and the
like while at the same time ‘‘poisoning’’ my thought. They have become
voices, apparitions, images, smells, sounds, and so on in my body and
mind, enabling me to think and live above, below, beyond, and beside
that possessive pronoun ‘‘my,’’ and for that I am forever grateful.
Let me commence by thanking a group of intellectuals whosework has
sustained me: Stuart Hall, Hortense Spillers, Gayatri Spivak, and Sylvia
Wynter. In the years that I have spent thinking about and writing this
for intellectual inquiry. I have also greatly beneﬁted from various men-
tors and teachers, particularly Elke Stenzel and Ulla Haselstein, who pro-
vided challenges and support in high school and college, and Abena P. A.
Busia, Bruce W. Robbins, and Cheryl A. Wall, who, as my graduate men-
tors oﬀered me a mixture of critical acuity, generosity, understanding,