Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Euromodernity, race, Blackness, Deafness, phonocentrism, audism, political speech, creolizing, colonialism

Major Advisor

Jane Anna Gordon

Associate Advisor

Jeffrey R. Dudas

Associate Advisor

Lewis R. Gordon

Associate Advisor

Frederick I. Lee

Associate Advisor

Michael E. Morrell

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation contends speech is indispensable to politics. It begins with Aristotle, whose conception of political speech grounds our modern understanding. I argue the Aristotelian position is colonizing insofar as it essentializes speech as sound. The consequence is that speech becomes phonocentric, privileging a particular mode of communication. This raises the issue of Deaf subjects who engage politics in non-phonocentric ways. That is, their speech is seen in what I contend is a visual vernacular. Subsequently, I turn to the issue of race. If Deaf subjects raise questions about what it means to speak, Black subjects, who speak audibly and are still unheard, raise a correspondent question: What does it mean to be heard? Within Euromodernity, I contend political speech becomes essentialized and racialized. Here, particular human beings (whites) are deemed as deserving of being heard, while others (Blacks) are silenced and thus, rendered speechless.

In response to these conditions, I argue Black and Deaf subjects do speak and their speech challenges existing hegemonic, colonized forms. Black and Deaf political speech allow for the creation of Black and Deaf lifeworlds, an articulation of their own ways of existing in the social world. The result is a project actualizing freedom. Ultimately, I posit a creolizing of political speech, a mixing of Deaf and Black existential articulations, such that what engenders is a reconceptualizing of political speech towards a meeting of wills, ideas, and ways of being, grounded in generality. Under such a project, political lives and futures for the colonized emerge.