Coordinates of a Slave’s Body in a Philosopher’s Dream

Onderzoeksoutput: ChapterResearchpeer review


A remnant of the slavery in Dutch Brazil appears in Spinoza’s imagination as the dream of a ‘black, scabby Brazilian’ (letter 17). Spinoza considers the dream, but not the Brazilian. Commentators have on their part speculated on the haunting image of slavery, on the unconscious omen of political distress, and on the effort of exorcising colonial ghosts. The persistence of dreamlike images testifies to the confusion provoked by a philosopher’s dream of a slave’s body, an enslaved body. It is then proposed that through bodily imagination, an imagination directly rooted in the body, inner striving can overflow as a desire that leads the enslaved body back into the world. Hence, body and mind act equally in the desire for knowledge and liberation. Desire holds the matrix that produces the ontological plane on which the slave resists being enslaved and finds in bodily imagination sufficient power for an escape. This chapter thus sets out a Spinozist decolonial intervention in early modern Dutch dreams of freedom and slavery. Accordingly, the imagination of the colonial dreamer, caught in a confusion of conscience and consciousness, is contrasted with an imagination stripped of all culture, just to the body.
Originele taal-2English
TitelSlavery in the Cultural Imagination: The Neerlandophone Space, 17-21st Century
UitgeverijAmsterdam University Press
StatusAccepted/In press - 9 okt 2022


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