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Black in Hegel and Nietzsche

Black in Hegel and Nietzsche

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Published by Craig Leonard
One of the central"metaphorsof mind" for the earlynineteenth
century, accordingto M. H. Abrams, was the relationshipbetween slave
and master.'When Hegel outlinedthe "intricatedialecticof dependence
and in Die des Geistes(1807) he reflected independence" Phdinomenologie
this basicinterestof his time, a concernof abstractphilosophyas well as political life.2 When, at the close of the nineteenth century, Nietzsche returnedto the master-slaverelationship,it was in quite a differentlight. The alterationof the concept was in part due to Nietzsche's conscious reactionto Hegel's formulationof the master-slavedyad, but, in part, it was also due to an altered concept of slavery.3By the close of the nineteenth century, the idea of slavery in the western world had ceased to have relevance. The opening decades of the century saw slavery as an institutionexisting in westerncivilization. By the end of the century the concept of slavery had become de-politicized. It was replacedby a concomitant concern for the nature of the subjects of colonialism and their relationshipto the imperialstate.
The discussion of the master-slave relationship has too often
ignoredone of the centraltextualrelationshipsimplicitin the conceptof slavery in the early nineteenth century. Today the nature of the slave may be superficiallyunderstood as a vague abstractionwhich would include the Russian serf and the Spartanbondman, but for a hundred yearsfrom the middleof the eighteenthcenturythis conceptwas conter- minous with the image of the Black.
One of the central"metaphorsof mind" for the earlynineteenth
century, accordingto M. H. Abrams, was the relationshipbetween slave
and master.'When Hegel outlinedthe "intricatedialecticof dependence
and in Die des Geistes(1807) he reflected independence" Phdinomenologie
this basicinterestof his time, a concernof abstractphilosophyas well as political life.2 When, at the close of the nineteenth century, Nietzsche returnedto the master-slaverelationship,it was in quite a differentlight. The alterationof the concept was in part due to Nietzsche's conscious reactionto Hegel's formulationof the master-slavedyad, but, in part, it was also due to an altered concept of slavery.3By the close of the nineteenth century, the idea of slavery in the western world had ceased to have relevance. The opening decades of the century saw slavery as an institutionexisting in westerncivilization. By the end of the century the concept of slavery had become de-politicized. It was replacedby a concomitant concern for the nature of the subjects of colonialism and their relationshipto the imperialstate.
The discussion of the master-slave relationship has too often
ignoredone of the centraltextualrelationshipsimplicitin the conceptof slavery in the early nineteenth century. Today the nature of the slave may be superficiallyunderstood as a vague abstractionwhich would include the Russian serf and the Spartanbondman, but for a hundred yearsfrom the middleof the eighteenthcenturythis conceptwas conter- minous with the image of the Black.

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Published by: Craig Leonard on Sep 28, 2013
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09/28/2013

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