Slavery is a Metaphor


A Critical Commentary on Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang’s “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor”

By Tapji Garba & Sara-Maria Sorentino, Antipode Journal, Volume 52, Issue 3, May 2020

This essay offers a critical analysis of the metaphysical and methodological presuppositions of Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang’s “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor”. While Tuck and Yang position settler colonial spatiality as structured by a settler-native-slave triad, we argue that their critique of metaphor entails the collapse of the triad into a settler-native dyad, the reduction of slavery to forced labour, and a division between the material and the symbolic that forecloses not only an analysis of slavery, but also the constitution of settler colonialism itself. Through an immanent critique of “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor” we identify what animates their critique of metaphor, and drawing on scholarship in Black studies, we offer an alternative theorisation of slavery and settler colonialism.

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