This special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly brings together scholars from a range of disciplines-including philosophy, anthropology, and literature-who are committed to thinking about the condition of contemporary black life. Moving among Africa, the United States, and the Caribbean, this issue demonstrates the vibrancy and historical roots of Africana thought and philosophy. One essay reveals the intricate richness of Africana thought, moving through psychoanalysis, folktales, Western metaphysics, and a critique of the political. Another essay offers a cautionary tale about the prospects for black life in the United States, even in the wake of Barack Obama's historic political victory. A third essay argues that a "dead zone"-a place where black lives are lost, where hopes are dashed, where history has failed the black subject-exists between the black elite and the disenfranchised black underclass. Still another essay addresses how the discourse about the political has triumphed over everything else in considerations of colonialism and its aftermath and proposes that a turn to culture might offer a new thinking of black futures.