Dr. SA Smythe (they/them/their) is Assistant Professor of Black European Cultural Studies in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA, currently completing the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. They previously worked with Dr. Lilith Mahmud as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender & Sexuality Studies at UCI. They were also formerly an Academic Fellow in the Department of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a Visiting Researcher in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Language Research at the University of London’s School of Advanced Studies in the Centers for Cultural Memory (CCM) and Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW). SA’s Master’s (with Distinction) and PhD are from UC Santa Cruz’s History of Consciousness Department with designated emphases in Literature and Feminist Studies. They previously studied Russian, Linguistics, and Italian (Honors) at the City University of New York, Italian Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies as a Research Fellow at UC Berkeley, and Semiotics at the Università di Bologna in Italy. SA’s transdisciplinary intervention engages with Black cultural studies, Italian literary studies, postcolonial historiography, Mediterranean studies, queer and trans studies, and critical human geography.
SA is founder and co-chair of the Queer Studies Caucus of the American Association of Italian Studies (AAIS), and publishing editor of THEM: Trans Literary Journal. They are a co-investigator of the British Arts & Humanities Research Council network grant “Queer Italia,” along with Drs. Charlotte Ross and Julia Heim. They were formerly a contributing curator/writer at okayafrica, reviews editor for Critical Contemporary Culture Journal at the London School of Economics, and an editorial assistant at Rizzoli and The Feminist Press in New York.
SA has organized in QTIBPOC feminist and abolitionist poetry collectives in NYC, the Bay Area, London, Berlin, and most recently Los Angeles. Their meditations on race, sexuality, loss, and aberrance manifest most clearly in their poetry, which has been published and performed in/across English, Italian, and Spanish. They are also a (currently freelance) translator and editor of academic and literary texts in several languages.
SA really enjoys composing and dancing to music, traveling, reading, knitting, and cultivating home with feline companion Mlle. Winslow Audre Gigglepeppers-Smythe III and a neat glass of scotch. While old classic films with Chaplin, Dietrich, Mastroianni, or Poitier are some favorites to watch, nothing beats anything starring Dame Angela Lansbury, especially Mame (1966) and Murder, She Wrote, a show to which SA is unironically devoted and willing to re-watch until the end of time.
📸: Afro-Finnish photographer Uwa Iduozee
© 2018 SA Smythe. All rights reserved.