About the Organizers

SA Smythe is a poet, translator, and scholar of Black European Literary & Cultural Studies, Contemporary Mediterranean Studies, and Black Trans Poetics. They are an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA, currently completing the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.  At present, Smythe is working on three book projects. The first, Where Blackness Meets the Sea: On Crisis, Culture, and the Black Mediterranean, is a transdisciplinary study of Black Italian, migrant, and postcolonial women’s cultural production focused on the racialized notions of citizenship and belonging in the wake of self-initiated “crises” of migration and the attendant levels of dispossession across Europe, East Africa, and the Mediterranean. The second book is a volume of poetry, titled proclivity, which focuses on Black migration, trans embodiment, and emancipation. The third project is a is a translation of trans rights activist Porpora Marcasiano’s political memoir, L’aurora delle trans cattive [The Rise of the Bad Trans Women], from Italian to English.

Sandra Harvey is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at UC Irvine. She researches the production of race and gender through surveillance technologies originating in colonialism and chattel slavery. Her book project, Passing for Free, Passing for Sovereign: Blackness and the Formation of the Nation, traces narratives of race/gender passing within science, settler colonial law, conceptual art, and Enlightenment philosophy. The work asks after the assumptions about blackness that emerge in the passing regime and how these might influence contemporary notions of freedom, sovereignty, the nation, and the citizen. Her writing has been published in Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience and in the forthcoming anthology Otherwise Worlds: Against Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness.