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On Cuddling

On Cuddling

Loved to Death in the Racial Embrace Volume 5

Phanuel Antwi
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'An urgent and elegant text...excavating the many meanings of cuddling under racial capitalism. Antwi's writing is lyrical and powerful; the way he harnesses epistemology and polysemy to build both dancing prose and crucial political analysis, is revelatory.' Sophie K Rosa, author of Radical Intimacy

'A necessary book about holding, being held and the hold(s) of the past. Playful, vulnerable, ever acute - Antwi gets down with the funk of language, history, and bodies to make fugitive sense of modernity as anti-Black grammar and embrace.' Nadine Attewell, scholar of intimacy, empire, and diasporic life

From the terrifying embrace of the slave ship's hold to the racist encoding of 'cuddly' toys, On Cuddling is a unique combination of essay and poetry that contends with how racial violence is enacted through intimacy.

Informed by Black feminist and queer poetics, Phanuel Antwi focuses his lens on the suffering of Black people at the hands of state violence and racial capitalism. As radical movements grow to advance Black liberation, so too must our ways of understanding how racial capitalism embraces us all. Antwi turns to cuddling, an act we imagine as devoid of violence, and explores it as a tense power transfer point.

Through archival documents and multiple genres of writing, it becomes clear that the racial violence of the state and economy has always been about the (mis)management of intimacies, and we should face it with resistance and solidarity.


Phanuel Antwi is Canada Research Chair in Black Arts and Epistemologies. He is an artist, teacher, and organizer concerned with race, poetics, movements, intimacy, and struggle. He works with text, dance, film, and photography to intervene in artistic, academic, and public spaces. He is a curator, activist, and associate professor at the University of British Columbia.


  • Publisher: Pluto Press (UK)
  • Publish Date: November 24, 2023
  • Pages: 192
  • Dimensions: 0.0 X 0.0 X 0.0 inches | 0.0 pounds
  • Language: English
  • Type: Paperback
  • EAN/UPC: 9780745346113
  • BISAC Categories: Ethnic Studies - General, Feminism & Feminist Theory, Discrimination & Race Relations, Canadian, Black Studies (Global)


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