Refugees study change not only because they’ve been put through changes but also because changes are what they want and what they play and what they are. Refugees study a mode of study—the contrapuntal intersection of a set of interstitial fields, dislocation in a hole or a hold or a whole or a crawlspace. Such study is inhabitation that moves : by way of—but also in apposition to—injury, which is irreducible in the refugee though she is irreducible to it. There is, in turn, passage in acknowledging the theoretical practice of the one who emerges as if from nowhere, rooted in having been routed, digging, tilling, working, sounding, the memorial future of a grave, undercommon cell. She is the commodity, the impossible domestic, the interdicted/contradictive mother. Dangerously embedded in the home from which she is excluded, she is more and less than one. The question of where and when she enters—where entrance is reduced to some necessarily tepid mixture of naturalization and coronation, which is an already failed solution that is ever more emphatically diluted in its abstract and infinite replication—is always shaded by the option to refuse what has been refused, by the preferential option not for a place but rather for radical displacement, not for the same but for its change. Blackness is given in the refusal of the refugee.
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Palimpsest : A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International n° 3