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Reimagining Black Cosmopolitanism


In this paper, I will critically account for Friedrich Nietzsche’s concepts of “home” and “homelessness,” emphasizing the manifestation of centric structures in Western thought. I will explore the sociopolitical purposes of Feminism about these centric structures. I will then analyze Mary Prince’s role as a “homeless children of the future” in the 19th century, drawing from Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo’s examination of Enlightenment Philosophy and Modernity. Finally, I will theorize the Haitian Revolution within the context of the three essential revolutions of Enlightenment, Philosophy, and Modernity. Throughout this paper, I will integrate excerpts from “Maritime Archaeology and the African Diaspora” by Fred L. McChee, “Defiance” in Avengers of the New World, and the videos on “The Haitian Revolution Definition in the Context of Black Atlantic, World History” to support my analysis.

Nietzsche and the Concept of “Home” and “Homelessness”

Friedrich Nietzsche, a famous philosopher, looks into the complicated ideas of “home” and “homelessness,” giving us a deep look into identity and connection. Nichesch’s main idea is that a person’s identity and feeling of belonging are linked in a way that can’t be separated. His theory says that the search for a sense of place is based on people’s basic needs for safety, warmth, and a strong sense of who they are. Nazi philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said that the standard idea of home usually means a place that is safe and comfortable. This traditional advice aligns with our desire to feel grounded and comforted in the familiar (Horlings, n.p). In a thought-provoking twist, Nietzsche says that the only way to be truly happy is to be ready to live a life of “homelessness.”

Nietzsche’s philosophical research shows that accepting “homelessness” means leaving one’s comfortable settings instead of leaving real places. You don’t leave areas behind; you leave the safety and comfort of your surroundings behind. Nietzsche questions the belief that identity is linked to a particular site and asks people to rethink how fixed traditional home ideas are. In Nietzsche’s deep study of how rigid conventional ideas of home are, the call to accept “homelessness” comes from this. People should leave their comfort zones and explore instead of staying in safe places they know. But instead of leaving physically, this is a journey through the mind and thoughts (Levecq, n.p). It pushes people to go beyond what most people think is true and look inside themselves.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche disagrees with the idea that identity is a fixed thing with its roots in a particular place. Instead, he talks about how identity is fluid and changes over time. In his support of “homelessness,” Nietzsche urges people to break free from a set identity tied to a particular place. He doesn’t mean moving from one place to another; the travel he talks about is a process of self-discovery and intellectual growth. Nietzsche’s theory is that thinking about one can help one grow intellectually (Plumwood, n.p). He says constantly learning about yourself is the only way to happiness. Accepting that you are “homeless” becomes a way to break free from a fixed identity. Being open to change and interested in learning more about yourself is a trait that this practice encourages.

Nietzsche’s ideas about “home” and “homelessness” go against what most people think because they urge people to see their identity as a process, not a fixed thing. The idea of “homelessness,” constantly changing and can help you learn and grow, is compared with the traditional notion of “home,” which means stability and a sense of being rooted. This philosophical investigation forces people to leave their comfort zones and creates an intellectual and personal growth environment. Nietzsche’s focus on accepting “homelessness” makes people want to go against the grain and explore the unknown to get a better sense of who they are. Nietzsche’s philosophy supports a view of the world that stresses the transformative power of intellectual growth and study by questioning what home means. Nietzsche thought that making an identity is not limited to a particular place. Instead, he felt that it was an ongoing thing that would happen in the future.

Centric Structures in Western Thought and the Sociopolitical Purposes of Feminism

In the Western philosophical landscape, “central structures” are the main ideas, structures, and hierarchies that shape social rules and values. Racial, gender, and class differences make it possible for these systems, often deeply rooted in society, to keep differences alive and push certain groups to the edges of society. Feminism, a progressive and revolutionary movement, wants to achieve social justice and gender equality by questioning and overturning structures that are based on gender. Patriarchy, the idea that men have more power and authority in society, is at the heart of these centric arrangements (Nwankwo, n.p). As an intellectual response, Feminism takes on the job of changing structures and norms based on male dominance. It fights for women’s rights, challenges typical gender roles, and aims for more fair power distribution. Feminism questions long-held gender roles and expectations to get rid of the deeply held biases that have generally kept women from voting and limiting their freedom.

In addition to gender issues, white supremacy is another common form of centric structure. This is the system that sets up and keeps up racial divisions while helping white people. To deal with this kind of oppression, Feminism takes an active role in tearing down white supremacist institutions. The fight for racial justice is integral to feminist work because it shows how different kinds of oppression are connected. Intersectionality is one of the most essential ideas in feminist theory. It says that people can be discriminated against on more than one level because of things like race, gender, class, and other factors that overlap. Feminism tries to break down centric systems in a more complex and inclusive way by embracing intersectionality (Plumwood, n.p). This makes the fight against white supremacy and patriarchy more difficult and strengthens each other.

Also, capitalism is shown to be yet another centered system deeply rooted in Western societies that encourages exploitation in business and keeps significant differences between people. Feminist analysis also turns its attention to the economy, calling into question the basic ideas of capitalism. The movement works for economic justice by pushing for laws that end wage gaps between men and women, promote equal pay, and encourage honest work practices. Feminism tries to change how economies work by pointing out the unfairness built into capitalism and creating conditions where everyone, regardless of gender, can do well without dealing with unfair practices (Nwankwo, n.p). Breaking down and opposing these male-centered institutions is what Feminism does to help society grow. It makes people think more deeply about institutional norms and deeply held beliefs, which leads to everyone realizing that change is necessary. Feminism fights against the unfair parts of capitalism, breaks down patriarchal norms, and fights white supremacy to end historical wrongs and make society more fair and just.

Mary Prince and the Enlightenment Philosophy

In the 1800s, Mary Prince, one of the “homeless children of the future,” became famous. She used her fame to question the ideas of modernity and Enlightenment thought. Through Nwankwo’s insightful analysis, Prince’s deep knowledge of the “wind that brings the thaw”—the winds of progress and change that swept through Europe during the Enlightenment—is brought to light. By taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance, Prince began a journey of critical analysis that would lead him to explore the main ideas of modernity and the Enlightenment, focusing on human rights, freedom, and equality (Plumwood, n.p). Because of her fame, a one-of-a-kind study began beyond her life. It added to a more extensive talk about the effects and problems of the most famous philosophical ideas.

Mary Prince, an African-born enslaved person, saw for herself how cruel and dehumanizing slavery was. This was very different from the romantic ideas that Enlightenment thinkers pushed. In her autobiography, “The History of Mary Prince,” she used an interesting story to show how the Enlightenment discourse was inconsistent and dishonest. Prince’s moving story showed how very different the ideals of justice and equality that “enlightened” Europeans said they believed in were from the harsh reality that Black people in prison had to face. Through her first-hand account, Prince destroyed the romantic ideas that surrounded the Enlightenment. She showed how philosophical talk and the horrible realities of life for enslaved people were wildly at odds with each other.

Mary Prince’s powerful tales shattered the Enlightenment’s romantic ideas of universal human rights. Her sad stories were a sobering warning that not everyone could fully embrace these romantic ideas, mainly enslaved people who had to deal with the cruel reality of slavery. Princess Prince did a great job showing how the words “human rights” don’t match up with the hard truths people like her have to face. Prince’s stories made it clear that human rights were only applied in some situations by showing how different stated goals were from actual execution. Even though the Enlightenment made big claims of freedom and equality for everyone, people like Prince were not given these fundamental rights. This significant difference showed the most profound conflicts between people’s words of support for human rights and the cruel treatment of the weak and disadvantaged, which went against the ideas of the Enlightenment (Nwankwo, n.p). Prince’s stories turned into a critical analysis that questioned the Enlightenment’s supposed commitment to equality and universal rights by showing how the movement’s lofty language differed significantly from how it lived out its ideals.

Mary Prince used her story as a solid way to think critically. She skillfully used Enlightenment ideas to show how oppressive structures got in the form of her quest for freedom. Prince made people think about the Enlightenment’s problems by connecting her life events with its ideological goals. It was her stories that helped bring down long-standing systems of power that hurt Black people. As Prince bravely fought against deeply held racial beliefs, he showed how Enlightenment philosophy was based on fundamental wrongs. Through the power of her story, she pointed out the contradictions between the Enlightenment’s stated goals and the natural evils that Black people had to face. By telling her story this way, Prince not only helped bring down oppressive systems but also sparked a critical reevaluation of the Enlightenment’s ideas and how they affected disadvantaged groups.

The Haitian Revolution and the Three Revolutions of the Enlightenment Philosophy

The Haitian Revolution began with much trouble in the late 18th century and early 19th century. This event is essential and can be understood in the context of the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Haitian Revolution itself. All of these movements were deeply affected by modernity and the ideas of the Enlightenment. Liberation, equality, and self-government were some beliefs the American Revolution tried to express. These ideas came from the need to be free from British colonial rule. But these ideas were only used in certain situations, favoring white settlers more than anyone else and strengthening white power. Enslaved people and Native American communities were constantly denied the promises of freedom and equality, which shows how ironic it was that the revolution supported racial hierarchy and exclusion (Mbaye, n.p).

In the same way, the French Revolution wanted to build a democracy built on the ideas of freedom, equality, and brotherhood. It was caused by the desire to get rid of an absolute government. Despite these egalitarian ideas, the French Revolution did not live up to its claims to groups that were being mistreated, like slaves. When people said they believed in certain things but did discriminatory things, the movement couldn’t entirely adopt the ideas it stood for.

On the other hand, the Haitian Revolution was caused by the clash between the harsh facts of slavery and the ideas of the Enlightenment. Africans who were enslaved people in Haiti fought bravely for their freedom under the leadership of people like Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. The Haitian Revolution is a unique part of history because it created the first Black nation in the Americas (Levecq, n.p). Not only did it change race roles, but it also showed the apparent flaws in Enlightenment ideas and questioned the morality of colonialism and slavery. Looking at the Haitian Revolution through the lens of modernity and Enlightenment thought, you can see how revolutionary it could be. In opposition to the American and French Revolutions, the Haitian Revolution shows how oppressed people used the chance for change to change their stories. The revolution forced a deep examination of the flaws and limits in the ideas of the Enlightenment, which led to a broader and more complete view of freedom and equality.

The Haitian Revolution was so powerful because it didn’t follow the usual road for revolutions influenced by the Enlightenment. By destroying the oppressive systems of empire and slavery, it busted common ideas about how power works. In addition to standing up to racial injustices, the Haitian Revolution is important because it makes us think again about the main ideas of the Enlightenment (Mbaye, n.p). The Haitian Revolution shows how oppressed voices can regain power and change the course of their lives. It’s a great example of how people who have been abused in the past could use the new possibilities that the Enlightenment brought about. The revolution made it clear how important it is to move beyond the narrow framework of Enlightenment ideas and demand a fully egalitarian vision of liberty and equality that recognizes the agency and humanity of every person, no matter their race or financial status.


Critical elements of Atlantic postcolonial literary and cultural sensibilities are encapsulated in the concept of the Black Atlantic, which functions as a comprehensive framework. This concept skillfully investigates African, African American, Caribbean, and European identities, experiences, and challenges. The dynamic Black Atlantic challenges Western thought-centered frameworks to create a more inclusive and egalitarian view of identity and history.

Studies of Nietzsche’s “home” and “homelessness,” Western thought’s central frameworks, Mary Prince’s criticism of Enlightenment philosophy, and the Haitian Revolution indicate a thorough grasp of the three critical Enlightenment revolutions. This analytical journey shows Black Atlantic power, identity, and resistance dynamics. Critical analysis demands more African diasporan research. Continue studying social justice and liberation fights. The Black Atlantic explains and navigates global interconnection’s complex historical and present stories.

Works Cited

Horlings, Rachel L. “An Introduction to Archaeology and Protection of Maritime Cultural Heritage in Ghana.” Protection, Developments and International Perspectives: 121.

Plumwood, Val. Feminism and the Mastery of NatureRoutledge, 2002.

Nwankwo, Ifeoma Kiddoe. Black cosmopolitanism: Racial consciousness and transnational identity in the nineteenth-century AmericasUniversity of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

Mbaye, Babacar. “Richard Wright and African Francophone Intellectuals.”

Levecq, Christine. Black cosmopolitans: race, religion, and republicanism in an age of revolution. University of Virginia Press, 2020.

Macleod-Leslie, Heather. “Archaeology and Atlantic Canada’s African Diaspora.” Acadiensis 43.1 (2014): 137-146.


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