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The Hoodie as Sign, Screen, Expectation, and Force
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The Hoodie as Sign, Screen, Expectation, and Force

Author: Mimi Thi Nguyen
Edition/Format: Article Article
Publication:Signs, v40 n4 (20150601): 791-816
Summary:
Abstract In the aftermath of the shooting death of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012, the hoodie became a material witness, called upon to tell truths about the body it covers. I propose that the figuration of the hoodie as an animate thing demonstrates some of the operations of power that deem some bodies criminally other—because they are black and therefore threatening—and  Read more...
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: Mimi Thi Nguyen
ISSN:0097-9740
Unique Identifier: 5887542854
Awards:

Abstract:

Abstract In the aftermath of the shooting death of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012, the hoodie became a material witness, called upon to tell truths about the body it covers. I propose that the figuration of the hoodie as an animate thing demonstrates some of the operations of power that deem some bodies criminally other—because they are black and therefore threatening—and available for state violence. Constructs of race teach us how to see, as Frantz Fanon observed so well, naming flesh an “epidermal schema” presumed to yield usable knowledge about humanness and its others through a series of abstractions shaping subjectivation from substance. The liberal disavowal of racism as the foundation for the rule of law proliferates such abstractions as alibis: the abstractions that script skin as visible or material evidence of ontological truth slide onto other surfaces, including clothing as indices for criminality, for instance. The hoodie is thus an example of Hortense Spillers’s signifying property plus , unfolding for us the racial optics through which someone is devastatingly lost—and of the lethal structures that lose our loved ones in the first place. Yielding some sense of racism’s endurance because of its incoherences, correspondences, and movements in and through things, things freighted with an excess of those histories that commit some beings to premature death, the hoodie as a sign, a screen, an expectation, and a force uncovers some of the powers that threaten black life in this moment.

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In the aftermath of the shooting death of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012, the hoodie became a material witness, called upon to tell truths about the body it covers. I propose that the figuration of the hoodie as an animate thing demonstrates some of the operations of power that deem some bodies criminally other\u2014because they are black and therefore threatening\u2014and available for state violence. Constructs of race teach us how to see, as Frantz Fanon observed so well, naming flesh an \u201Cepidermal schema\u201D presumed to yield usable knowledge about humanness and its others through a series of abstractions shaping subjectivation from substance. The liberal disavowal of racism as the foundation for the rule of law proliferates such abstractions as alibis: the abstractions that script skin as visible or material evidence of ontological truth slide onto other surfaces, including clothing as indices for criminality, for instance. The hoodie is thus an example of Hortense Spillers\u2019ssignifying property plus, unfolding for us the racial optics through which someone is devastatingly lost\u2014and of the lethal structures that lose our loved ones in the first place. Yielding some sense of racism\u2019s endurancebecauseof its incoherences, correspondences, and movements in and through things, things freighted with an excess of those histories that commit some beings to premature death, the hoodie as a sign, a screen, an expectation, and a force uncovers some of the powers that threaten black life in this moment.<\/p><\/span>\" ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nschema:exampleOfWork<\/a> <http:\/\/worldcat.org\/entity\/work\/id\/2538206084<\/a>> ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nschema:isPartOf<\/a> <http:\/\/worldcat.org\/issn\/0097-9740#40_4<\/a>> ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nschema:name<\/a> \"The Hoodie as Sign, Screen, Expectation, and Force<\/span>\" ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nschema:pageEnd<\/a> \"816<\/span>\" ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nschema:pageStart<\/a> \"791<\/span>\" ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nschema:productID<\/a> \"5887542854<\/span>\" ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nschema:url<\/a> <http:\/\/www.jstor.org\/stable\/10.1086\/680326<\/a>> ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\nwdrs:describedby<\/a> <http:\/\/www.worldcat.org\/title\/-\/oclc\/5887542854<\/a>> ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0.\n\n\n<\/div>\n\n

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