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Artist Talks - SA Smythe

Monday, June 7, 2021 from 3 – 4 pm


The Departments of English and Gender Studies Present: Artist Talks - SA Smythe

Miracle into Impossibility a Contrary Flow: A Poetics of Belonging & the Black Mediterranean

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Abstract: In this talk, SA Smythe discusses the ongoing colonial illogics undergirding Europe’s self-initiated migration “crisis” and the poetics of the Black Mediterranean, which is a way of narrating black life and histories of dispossession within and beyond the racial geographies animating the Mediterranean Sea. In order to theorise oceanic crossings, cultural memory, and black belonging, this transdisciplinary presentation historicises the presence and politics of blackness on the shore and at sea with an analysis of literary and other political responses to the violence of borders and resurgent fascisms. Smythe will describe the emerging and established contours of Afro-Italian women’s writing and collaborative black cultural production that emphasise linked black and migrant struggles and underscore the tensions in the (im)possibilities of state recognition to help us consider what it might otherwise mean to belong. They bring together black feminist and trans thought and poetic performance to draw forth what they term a “nonbinary approach” to black life and study.

About the Artist: SA Smythe (they [ENG] /iel [FRA]) is a poet, translator, and assistant professor of Black European Cultural Studies and Black Trans Poetics at UCLA. Smythe is invested in all relational aspects of black belonging beyond borders and black trans poesis (that is, poetics and philosophy of creativity borne from black trans reading praxes and embodiment). Forthcoming in that vein are two articles in TSQ and Palimpsest, and a collection of poetry titled proclivity, a reflection on black liberation, trans embodiment, and a familial history of migration (across Britain, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Italy). Smythe is the editor of the volume, Troubling the Grounds: Global Configurations of Blackness, Nativism, and Indigeneity (2021), and a monograph project provisionally titled, Where Blackness Meets the Sea: On Crisis, Culture, and the Black Mediterranean.

Stay tuned for invites to two additional upcoming talks on Monday June 21 and Tuesday June 22!

This presentation is part of hiring for the Black Studies Program at Queen's University. 

Department of English, Queen's University

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Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74447 extension 74447

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