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March 2022, English
13×21 cm, 328 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-3-95679-542-8
On the Antipolitical
Joaquín Gáñez
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Winner of the Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book in Caribbean Thought, 2024.

Unpayable Debt offers a black feminist reading of the political architecture of the global present. Inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred, in which an African American writer is transported from 1970s Los Angeles to the antebellum South to save the life of the child of a slave-owner who is also her ancestor, the concept of the unpayable debt—a debt someone owes but that is not hers to pay—relates post-Enlightenment versions of ethical and economic value to colonial and racial subjugation. Focusing on the philosophical basis of these renderings of value, Denise Ferreira da Silva exposes how coloniality and raciality operate in the juridical, ethical, and symbolic systems that facilitate the expropriation of labor and extraction of land essential for the accumulation of Capital.


“Denise Ferreira da Silva’s Unpayable Debt places before us a clear and deeply incisive understanding of the “unpayable debts” incurred through the deployments of coloniality, raciality and economic exploitation as they have exacted an essential and pervasive violence that attacks humanity at its core. This work is a remarkable achievement even within the total oeuvre of this prolific author whose tremendous insights challenge us to reach the same depths of understanding

— Professor Jacqueline Martinez, President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association