I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington (UW) in the English program. I study Black feminist speculative fiction and art through cultural studies readings. My work is centered around concepts of speculation, phantasm, shadows, the not-quite-here, surrealism, and horror. I'm interested in the ways Black arts use obscurity and distort reality to reveal moments of contention between colonial, capitalist, anti-Black limitations placed on Black people in the materials worlds and the ecstatic practices by Black communities and peoples, myself included, to transcends those limitations, and thereby, queering (what is commonly thought of as) reality.
My dissertation project asks if moments of distorted reality in Black works offer worlds that resist legibility and are moments when Black peoples are able to “marvel in [our] inventiveness,” as Hortense Spillers writes in “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.” I'm developing ways to read this inventiveness as other realities that Black people and communities imagine where relationships, being, and knowing operate differently. Saidiya Hartman, Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, Nadia Ellis, and Kara Keeling are a few among many scholars who influence my imaginative and speculative engagement with Black cultural works. By communing with the distortions in Black literary and visual arts, I get another view of Black consciousness that requires digging past Blackness as continued negation and past the reality that has been marked as death and void through whips and chains, to get to a reality in the shadows of anti-Black representations.
I currently work to develop methodologies for reading Black literary and visual arts for how they offer other worlds that go beyond anti-Black material worlds, I start with Black speculative and science fiction literary and visual arts, like the works of Octavia Butler, NK Jemisin, Cauleen Smith, and Ligia Lewis. The Black consciousness that I suggest is represented by distorted representations of Black life can only make themselves more accessible and clearer through a destruction of the world(s) organized through neoliberal, anti-Black logics. Examining the archive of Black speculative works, where world destruction to build anew is a commonality, affirms that Black embodiments can be radically different in Black cultural producers' imaginations. Studying that difference can alter how we think about Black ontology in contemporary Black studies.
At UW, I also teach first-year composition. I encourage students to venture out of what they have considered “normal” when they are creating their own texts-- written or otherwise. These worlds that we engulf ourselves within teach us how we think; they imbue our ideas. It’s important to break down and articulate where these ideas are coming from and who they are serving. To do this, we may have to break out of preconceived notions of creation (or composition, if you prefer) and enter into something new. We must be rule-breakers. My pedagogical commitments extend from my belief that students (as a forever-one myself) understand conceptual categories when they (we) are exposed to a variety of creative and intellectual mediums; therefore, I practice and encourage multimodal and multi-disciplinary work. Read more about my teaching style here.
With all of my projects I ask:
How is this work, or how can I be, curious about alternative ways of being and knowing? And how can this alternative life be sustained in another world?
Because of these alternative ways of living, what is made possible/what can be found in this other world that is not possible/not found in our current reality?
I’m open to collaborating with other artists, writers, researchers, and collectives who feel like we have complementary goals and missions. After exploring my body of work throughout this site and you want to work together, hit me up!