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robertogreco : katherinemckittrick   2

Interviews – Meet Antipode’s new Editorial Collective |
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"Andy Kent: Could you tell us about Dear Science, a project you’ve been working on for a number of years now?

Katherine McKittrick: The title of my next research project and monograph, Dear Science, is borrowed from the musicians TV on the Radio (Interscope, 2008). It is an affectionate invitation to engage science and hold dear creative expressions of scientific knowledge. Dear Science suggests that there exists, between and across the arts and the natural sciences, a promise of intellectual collaboration and emancipatory possibility. The project emphasizes the ways in which the creative texts of those marginalized by social structures—in particular black cultural producers—demand from us an understanding of science and knowledge that challenges biological determinism. The research will look at the ways in which three areas of the natural sciences—biology, mathematics, and physics—emerge in the poetry, music, and visual art of black cultural producers.

I have been thinking about these kinds of questions for some time because I have noticed the ways in which blackness and race—while certainly social constructions—continue to be analysed as sites of degradation and unfreedom. So even as we claim that race is socially constructed, the black body is theorized as a social construction that is biologically inferior. So, I have been interested in how our political commitment to undoing the science of race in fact involves repetitively constituting and naming biologically deterministic categories. Underneath Dear Science, then, is an analytical web that addresses the limits of analysing science and studies of science within a framework that underscores and thus reproduces racial and gendered hierarchies and dichotomies.

These dichotomies and hierarchies do ‘work’ beyond the body and biological determinism, too: through the work of Sylvia Wynter and Aime Cesaire (among others), we can also notice the bifurcation of scientific knowledge and creative knowledge—and how particular communities are said to inhabit either side of this bifurcation. This epistemological splitting has led me to think about how black cultural producers utilize locution, imagery and sound to challenge and recast the colonial underpinnings of scientific knowledge as well as the analytical and interdisciplinary provocations that arise through imagining a black creative science. Early drafts have thought about these questions alongside the long poem Zong! by Nourbese Philip, the musical text Harnessed the Storm by Drexicya, Nas’ Untitled cover art, and two visual pieces by artist Joy Gregory, Memory and Skin and Blonde Collection. I hope to draw attention to the ways in which black creative artists provide a context through which science and creativity are enjoined and thus provoke new analytical challenges for cultural studies, science studies and black studies.

AK: One of the most striking things about your work is its ‘undisciplined’ nature; from your home in gender and cultural studies human geography meets black and anti-colonial studies…And that’s not the only border being trespassed: non-academic ways of imagining and knowing the world play an important role in your scholarship, from literature, poetry and music in Demonic Grounds and the book you co-edited with Clyde Woods, Black Geographies and the Politics of Place, to more recent work focusing on the writers Dionne Brand and Sylvia Wynter. I wonder if you might say something about these boundary-crossings and encounters, and the place of interdisciplinarity and different ‘expressive cultures’ in your research?

KMc: I have found that interdisciplinarity allows one to ask meaningful questions about race and social justice. The possibilities of interdisciplinarity are hopeful and resistant. It is an intellectually rewarding stance, for me—whose undergraduate training was in History and English Literature—to think outside the disciplinary box: this is an exciting analytical space where new ideas can be shared and debated. Methodologically, interdisciplinarity insists that we take a chance on what we do not know while also thinking about how the encounter of various intellectual traditions creates something new. Interdisplinarity and boundary crossing can also be frightening—Dear Science, for example, has brought a lot of new academic challenges to my life—physics, math, science studies—but these areas have pushed me to learn differently. I am not, of course, a physics, math, science studies expert; but engaging deeply with these areas has allowed me to take a chance on what I don’t know in order to think about the poetics of scientific knowledge as a legitimate entry into black and global intellectual history. It seems to me that if black people have been both excluded from and constituted by science—all too often rendered purely biological beings who are unscientific and unintelligent—they definitely have something to say about science that would challenge this worldview.

So how might we, as Edward Said asked, invite worldliness into our intellectual projects and struggles? And thinking with Frantz Fanon, how might we put together different kinds and types of knowledge in order to engender a decolonial perspective? How do we refuse to protect our intellectual property and welcome new ways of thinking? The world, as we know it, insists on encounter (colonialism, transatlantic slavery, and globalization pushed and push us together), and through this encounter something new is made possible. Interdisciplinary thinkers insist that knowledge is relational, multiple and equally valuable to understanding social justice. What I am trying to suggest is that interdisciplinarity, at its best, thinks with and beyond intellectual categories thus forcing us to think about race, gender and sexuality differently. To put it another way, if we breach the barriers between, say, the natural sciences and the humanities, might we also notice a worldview that newly attends to challenging practices of domination? This is, too, about intellectual activism and resistance to normalcy. Interdisciplinarity, at its best, loosens up disciplinary rigor, insists the intellectual histories of nonwhite and other marginalized communities are relevant, and reinvents what it is possible to know and who is a valid intellectual.

AK: Why were you interested in becoming an editor? And how are you finding work as part of an Editorial Collective?

KMc: I have been reading Antipode for a long time; it is a journal that raises important questions about how practices of inequity unfold geographically. The consistency of the journal also appeals to me—while I am an interdisciplinary scholar I like to engage with debates about the production of space precisely because, if I can riff off of Neil Smith, respatialization leads to repoliticization. Antipode has always delivered this kind sustained thinking about space and social justice and the journal is an amazingly comprehensive archive of Left geographic politics. And remember, too, some of the earliest writings on black geographies—I am thinking specifically about the great contributions by scholars such as Bobby Wilson in the 1970s—were published in Antipode. This history, alongside the hard work of the present Editorial Collective—who has maintained the journal’s intellectual integrity while also asking new questions about the place of the production of knowledge—interested me. My work as part of the Editorial Collective has been, to date, very insightful and interesting: each editor’s unique vision and scholarship is coupled with collaborative vision that, as mentioned above, is holding steady Antipode‘s history and positioning the journal as a place where new questions are being asked.

AK: Where, as you see it, is Antipode ‘at’? What do its papers look like? Where do you (want to) see the journal going?

KMc: The papers I have received have been very exciting and, I think, speak to the ‘new questions’ noted above. I have received some excellent papers on race, location and uneven geographies—with themes ranging from hip hop to community farming; all the submissions have focussed on the ways in which nonwhite communities are meaningful spatial actors who are not simply recipients of oppressive practices. This is to say that many of the papers I have engaged with are thinking about racial matters as heterogeneously articulated yet shaped by longstanding and powerful colonial practices. I really like the ways in which the thinking on difference—race, class, sexuality, (dis)ability, and so on—are working through the paradoxes of unfreedom and what is now being called neoliberalism: situating power and knowledge across locations, outside and within the hands of disenfranchised communities (although imagined and articulated differently), and reorienting where social justice and intellectual debate are taking place. For me, I am happy to continue these conversations—to build on intellectual and activist and social justice work that honours different kinds and types of knowledge and engenders new conversations about our collective political futures.""
katherinemckittrick  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  race  geography  interviews  antipode  science  culture  edwardsaid  worldliness  frantzfanon  decolonization  colonialism  globalization  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco | A Radical Geography Community
"A Radical Geography Community"

"Since August 1969 Antipode has published peer-reviewed papers which offer a radical (Marxist/socialist/anarchist/anti-racist/feminist/queer/green) analysis of geographical issues and whose intent is to engender the development of a new and better society. Now appearing five times a year and published by Wiley-Blackwell, Antipode continues to publish some of the best and most provocative radical geographical work available today; work from both geographers and their fellow travellers; from scholars both eminent and emerging.

As the Editorial Collective said in a recent editorial (‘Antipode in an antithetical era’ Antipode 43:2): “We welcome papers which are challenging, which exhibit a will to not only interpret but also transform the world. Antipode papers are rigorous and intellectually substantive, they wrestle with debates in geography and take them forward. But they also go well beyond geography, trespassing and disrupting disciplinary borders. They are original, but not just original: they want to be significant to theory and practice. They are argumentative, scholarly and clear, able to withstand the trials and tribulations of peer review; but they are also alive, animated, and compelling to read. In many instances they ooze political fervour, but they may do this in different ways, not just through angry rhetoric or savage polemic (although these are forms of radical writing which we also acknowledge and cherish). Antipode papers can be – perhaps even should be – collaborative and cooperative. They are not despairing. They are hopeful but not naively so. They are often normative, probing ‘what ought to be’ rather than just ‘what is’: in this sense, they may be explanatory-diagnostic but also anticipatory-utopian. They may interrogate wider structural logics but also be based in lived experiences. And – did we already say this? – they are passionate! Like many who opt for academia, we are driven and motivated; have a fastidiousness for detail; love of language and a clearly delivered thesis; and ardor for the unexpected. Antipode is for us, above all, about passion: passionate writing informed by a passion for justice, in the service of liberation rather than salvation. The quest is not for transcendent Truth but for historical truths that we can confront or enact (as the case may be). Antipode papers are timely, they resonate, speak to, or in some way help us understand – in order to change – existing forms of domination. They generate new, practical ideas for radical politics, broadly defined.”"
geography  radical  radicalgeography  katherinemckittrick  publications  journals 
october 2015 by robertogreco

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