If narratives that uphold secular humanism have led to an “unparalleled catastrophe” as Sylvia Wynter notes in an interview with Katherine McKittrick, then it is time to unwrite them. In this essay, I examine the dead as a category that exceeds metaphysical classifications of subject and object and provides alternate possibilities of communication and hybridity. To do so, I call on work by Claire Colebrook, Jacques Derrida, John Durham Peters, Eve Tuck, and Unica Zürn, among others, with the cultural work and words of Sylvia Wynter as a guide and galvanising force. Here, I repopulate the life/death seam with gorgons, witches, fates, and revenge stories. If ghosts are seen simply as other beings, albeit taboo ones like bacteria, or require alternate cultural narratives like villains, or exist both in the symbolic sphere of the mystical and the so-called natural world like roses, what kinds of methodologies can be opened? What do the dead have to say and how do we listen?
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