Obst, Anthony James (2019):
"Ceremony Found: Sylvia Wynter’s Hybrid Human and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony." Eds. Er, Öykü Dilara; Gerlach, Laura; Hussey, Ben; Navin, Margaret; Puccio, Daniele; Schubert, Stefan; Spieler, Sophie; Vogelsberg, Anne; Vossen, Hannah. aspeers 12: 77-96.
Journal Article

This paper engages Sylvia Wynter’s theory of the hybrid human as a prism for reading Leslie Marmon Silko’s 1977 novel Ceremony. Wynter’s work aims at decolonizing Western categories of knowledge, positing the notion of an Autopoetic Turn/Overturn to unsettle the coloniality of Man as an epistemo-ontological category. The epistemic break Wynter envisions to catalyze this unsettling involves an understanding of the human as a hybrid species, made up of biological as well as symbolic life, bios and mythos. Such an understanding of the human is revealed in Silko’s novel, as its protagonist, Tayo, undergoes a ritual of ceremonial healing that mirrors Wynter’s Autopoetic Turn/Overturn, disentangling himself from Western modes of knowledge by scripting a new story for himself and his people. Drawing on two of Wynter’s essays that carry “Ceremony” in their titles, my paper explores the intersections between Wynter’s theory and Silko’s fiction. By showing how Silko fictionally reenvisions new futures of being hybridly human beyond the category of Man, this essay points to epistemic pathways of decoloniality not predicated on anger.