It is in light of Fanon’s imperative that we “introduce invention into existence” that this issue of Propter Nos gathers its writers and draws its title. Rather than revel in the triumph and glory of what invention might offer in these troubled and troubling times, the contributions in this issue offer a more Janus-faced approach to the (im)possibilities of invention. The desire and will to ‘find a way out’—due to the exigency of the situation of gratuitous anti-Black violence, as well as the necessities of a radical Black imagination in motion—resonates and yet, what gathers these dissonant and destructive thinkers together is a hesitancy to locate in invention something like a pure positivity or a general capacity. It is this paradigmatic continuity of Blackness as a commodity that speaks the unspeakable, that cannot and yet must be spoken, that ruptures the logic of an invention which can one day be a tool of narratological emancipation for the Black. On the contrary, it is the underside of invention that requires excavation and interrogation if we are to unmake the invention(s) of the anti-Black World.
Herein lies an exploration of Black radical theory and praxis as invention. What are the limitations of creation and imagination when they take up the form and style of philosophical abstraction? Is Black theory itself invention of the kind Fanon sought to bring into existence? Is invention a modality of creation or creation a modality of invention? In this way what we find to be at stake in these questions are not simply the representational question of the quality of cultural objects and items, but instead what we are after is whether or not invention might itself be done otherwise—not as a testament of a positive World to come, but rather as a cataclysm of the current World order. Is it possible to create self-destruction? What might it mean to invent from the zone of non-being? These essays, poems, and experimental pieces answer the call of these questions.
Taija Mars McDougall
John Murillo III
Egbert Alejandro Martina
Ashley Ngozi Agbasoga