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Beyond the Doctrine of ManDecolonial Visions of the Human$
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Joseph Drexler-Dreis and Kristien Justaert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823286898

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823286898.001.0001

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Unsettling Blues: A Decolonial Reading of the Blues Episteme

Unsettling Blues: A Decolonial Reading of the Blues Episteme

(p.36) Chapter 2 Unsettling Blues: A Decolonial Reading of the Blues Episteme
Beyond the Doctrine of Man

Rufus Burnett

Fordham University Press

“Unsettling Blues: A Decolonial Reading of the Blues Episteme” reads the phenomenon of American Blues with Sylvia Wynter’s analysis of Eurocentric ontology, “the doctrine of Man,” in its Christian and secular modes. In particular, the chapter uses Wynter’s insights to highlight the persistence of the blues episteme in the music of Mississippi born rap artist Justin Scott (also known as Big K.R.I.T.). By locating Scott within the decolonial legacy of the blues episteme, the chapter reveals an embodied and spatially situated example of how everyday people use knowledge and art to unsettle the doctrine that is “Man.” The chapter concludes that the blues episteme provides non-adaptive alternatives to the coloniality of certain African American Christian ontologies, which adapt to the Eurocentric doctrine of, “Man.” In all, the article suggests that “blues peoples,” those peoples that live out the blues episteme, produce cosmological and political options for being that prefigure and point towards decolonial visions of the human.

Keywords:   African American Christianity, the Blues, Blues people, coloniality, decoloniality, epistemology, southern rap music, Sylvia Wynter

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