The intertwined domains of political action and critical thought have undergone a renewed interest in the “anti-” and the “non-” as generative frameworks and approaches. This issue of Propter Nos is interested in the relationship between these two prefixes, generally thought to index a negative orientation toward any given concept or practice. The critical fervor surrounding “the negative” often fails to pro- vide a safe home for such thinking and practice. More often than not, this posture is ostracized, considered “unproductive,” heretical, and criminal—all designations which fall heavily on those positioned as the ‘negativity’ civil society aims to liquidate: the Black, the Prison Slave, the Native. From this perspective, the negative blemishes the neatness of “rational” and liberal-progressivist thinking; it stubbornly and myopically forecloses possibility and plentitude in favor of despair and fatalism. Due to this general aversion to the negative, the finer points of detail between various articulations of negativity are often collapsed, and any sense of nuance is evacuated from this discussion.
Thinking with/in the negative, not merely as a psych0-affective register but as an amorphous system of philosophical sensibilities and theoretical dispositions that tarry with negation as the locus of structural critique, this issue considers the following questions: Are “anti-” and “non-” collapsible terms? Are the “anti-” and/or “non-” only thinkable in opposition to an affirmative posture; or, is there a mode of accounting for the space between, and outside of, these terms? What do “anti-” and/or “non-” offer as approaches to aesthetic practice, political action, or theoretical inquiry, rather than mere descriptors? What is the generative potential of the (perceived) passivity or resignation of orientations toward the “anti-” and/or “non- ”? And need there be the promise of generativity in order to ground a politics?