“All the modern things have always existed. They’ve just been waiting to come out and multiply and take over. It’s their turn now.”

“In what sense does modernity belong to a closed entity, a ‘geo-body’ named Europe?”

“Gbessa never melted, and although she felt the agonizing, irreconcilable pain of hunger, Gbessa did not die.”

“The colonial past may never let go.”

“Naming a border is a way to rectify and absolve us, it’s a way to give credence to our own inaction and to do so without shame. A border can do the job of asserting the limits of our ethical obligation—where we are bound and then miraculously, arbitrarily, not.”

“The snake told her things about the world. He told her about the time there was this big typhoon on the island and all the sharks came out of the water. Yes, they came out of the water and they walked right into your house, with their big white teeth.”

“In the Greater Antilles, some years after the discovery of America, while the Spaniards sent out investigating commissions to ascertain whether or not the natives had a soul, the latter were engaged in the drowning of white prisoners in order to verify, through prolonged watching, whether or not their corpses were subject to putrefaction.”

“The question to ask is not whether we can return the native to her authentic origin, but what our fascination with the native means in terms of the irreversibility of modernity.”

Earth is (Not) Flat.”

 “Aristotle placed thought in its proper place—in a dramatic character. It gives the motives for action; but it is subordinate to the action itself. But for Hamlet the process of thought is his conception of action.”

“Although ‘race’-thinking certainly existed in earlier periods, modernity transformed the ways ‘race’ was understood and acted upon.”

“Depression is much more than simple unhappiness.”

“If we are to understand the ways in which social experience is powerfully constrained and organized according to temporal forms, whether modern or not, we would do well to adopt a keen attentiveness to multiple patternings of time.”

“We, the people knowing that the Creator placed us here on Mother Earth as sovereign nations and seeking to live in peace, freedom and prosperity with all humanity in accordance with our own traditional laws are united in our sacred relationship with the land, air, water and resources of our ancestral territories. We are bound by common origin and history, aspiration and experience, and we are brothers and sisters, leaders and warriors of our nations.”

“In spite of my efforts to be unflinching, have I flattered myself with this portrayal? Have I distorted events so they more closely follow the arc expected of a confessional narrative?”

“The mom is a yard of blackening petals.”

“Once the exclusionary character of modernity’s loudly trumpeted democratic aspirations has been flushed out of the cover provided by inclusive, humanistic rhetoric, the image of humanity that arose in the interval between these contradictory messages can then be denounced as a fraud.”

“Beloved, she my daughter. She mine. See. She come back to me of her own free will and I don’t have to explain a thing.”

“In failing to provincialize the division between nature and humanity as specific to the European civilizational project, postcolonial history, like its predecessor, potentially maintains the power of this separation to deny (and thus colonize) regimes of reality that transgress the divide and, hence, escape modernity.”

“(And what happens to the rage?)”

“The perception of the existence of the Other as an attempt on my life, as a mortal threat or absolute danger whose biophysical elimination would strengthen my potential to life and security—this, I suggest, is one of the many imaginaries of sovereignty characteristic of both early and late modernity itself.”

“A diagnosis says that I am crazy, but in a particular way: one that has been experienced and recorded not just in modern times, but also by the ancient Egyptians, who described a condition similar to schizophrenia in the Book of Hearts, and attributed psychosis to the dangerous influence of poison in the heart and uterus.”

“There is a sense of solitude.”

“Gender is not just the misogynistic expectations a female internalizes but also the process of internalizing itself, the self’s gentle suicide in the name of someone else’s desire, someone else’s narcissism.”

“This song is for my foe, / the clean-shaven, gray-suited, gray patron / of Hartford, the emperor of whiteness / blue as a body made of snow.”

“There was a certain thing I did not get from my mother. There is a lack, a gap, a void. (‘How’s that?’) But in its place, she has given me something else. Something, I would argue, that is far more valuable. (‘I think I can get up now.’) She has given me the way out.”

“If being ‘a people without history’ is a deliberate choice rather than a developmental failure, what animates that choice, and what are its consequences?”

“The worst thing is that without Lynx I feel truly alone.”

“In modernity, geopolitical space, intersubjective relations, economic activity, and the production of knowledge form a nexus of power oriented by imperatives of domination and control that mirror the logic of a division between masters and slaves.”

“But the mighty empire is a false pond / in this eternal light where night never descends, / where we pass old travelers forever dying, their lamb-milk eyes / astonished by years passing as one long noon.”

*   *   *

Note: The final word in each quote links to the quote’s source; quotes internal to a quote link to the citation; in case of two final links, the first is to the original source, the second to the book in which it appears.