I am a literary geohistoriographer and critical theorist with training in black studies, philology, feminist studies, and foreign languages (Italian, Russian, German, French, and Modern Standard Arabic). My writing lives in joyous orientation to black belonging, future archives of Afro-diasporic invention and freedomscapes, and in antagonism to fascism, borders, and heteronorms. I write about white supremacist tropes of crisis, racial capitalism, divesting from nationalisms and colonialisms, abolishing borders. I also theorise racialised gender, black trans poetics, and nonbinary embodiment. Across genre and despite discipline, my writing is informed by a commitment to black liberation, abolition, and my own positionality and communal attachments, including the years I have spent involved with various social justice movements and literary/arts collectives. For a selected list of recent publications (with PDF access) see here.
Where Blackness Meets the Sea
My first book, Where Blackness Meets the Sea: On Crisis, Culture, and the Black Mediterranean focuses on representations of blackness, femininity, and mobility in contemporary Black Italian and migrant writing, social movements, and culture. It theorizes black belonging via the ethnoracial and gendered assumptions of Southern European, Mediterranean, and African identity/identification. The book is organized through a series of figurative and geopolitical terrains—the sea, the citizen, the border, the port, the jungle, and the sea, otherwise. It underscores the material and psychological violence of Frontex Europe in conjunction with the legacies of colonial and fascist Italy by insisting on discussing the politics of citizenship on its own terms, and without relying on the desire to redeem or reconcile its legal hierarchies. Thus, this project departs from liberal narratives about and traditional approaches to cultural belonging or “acceptance” of racialized Otherness/difference in Italy, the Mediterranean, and Europe from the period of Italian Unification to the contemporary moment by historicizing and expanding on the Black Mediterranean and the cultural production it engenders.
Transnational Black Studies
This volume includes work by scholars, activists, and creative writers staging transnational encounters, fissures and exciting turns in black studies and its many dynamic traditions (including Caribbean Studies, Africana Studies, and radical literary, ethnoreligious, and political traditions). It articulates how the field’s proliferating questions impact modern languages and cultural study and it demonstrates what is possible beyond containment by national borders or linguistic/cultural confines. Edited by SA Smythe and forthcoming from Liverpool University Press.
proclivity is a full collection of poetry and accompanying suite of sound art performances in nine movements. It concerns a familial history of black migration (between Britain, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Italy), trans embodiment, and tendencies against towards freedom in all its forms.
The nine movements with the title “proclivity” comprise the eponymous suite of my transmedia performance suite, and mirror sections from the book:
Movement I – ( )
Movement II –(A.D.S.R) [attacco.decadimento.sostiene.rilascio.]
Movement III – wolf notes
Movement IV – /soft flux/
Movement V – averseaversavers
Movement VI – Mannish Waters
Movement VII – FAVLTY
Movement IX – Nine Nights