Research

My first book, Where Blackness Meets the Sea: On Crisis, Culture, and the Black Mediterranean focuses on representations of blackness, femininity, and mobility in Black Italian  and migrant writing and culture from 1985 to 2020. The book theorizes black belonging and the ethnoracial and gendered assumptions of Southern European, Mediterranean, and African identity/identification.

The premise undergirding this project is that another sociopolitical orientation is required, one that does not look to the state for recognition, but considers a new coalitional practice that can be thought “littorally” via the Mediterranean’s seascape and peripheries, rather than national European borders and economics-driven valuation of human life. One of my aims is to expose 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 white 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.

My transdisciplinary lives in conversation with Black methodologies, challenge my understanding of key notions such as transnationalism, citizenship, borders, and diaspora. I am also engaging in scholarship about racialized gender, Black trans poetics, nonbinary embodiment, and Black transfeminism. Recently, I’ve written about Black feminism and trans embodiment for two forthcoming volumes. Across genres, my work is informed by a commitment to black liberation, my own embodiment and positionality, and the years I have spent in various social justice movements and literary collectives.