Dr. SA Smythe is Assistant Professor of Black Studies and the Archive in the Faculty of Information and an affiliate faculty member of the Women & Gender Studies Institute (WGSI). Prior to joining UofT, they were Assistant Professor of Black European Cultural Studies and Black Trans Poetics at UCLA and a Fellow awarded the 2022 Rome Prize for Modern Italian Studies at the American Academy in Rome. Smythe is a critical theorist, poet, transdisciplinary artist, and translator committed to black belonging beyond all borders and the study of how archives of otherwise possibility come to be narrated, realised, and remembered. They hold a PhD in History of Consciousness with emphases in Feminist Studies and Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
SA SmytheAssistant Professor
- Website: https://essaysmythe.com/
SA Smythe’s intervention and commitment to black radical traditions and archival practices agitates across black cultural studies, trans poetics, performance, literary criticism, postcolonial historiography, contemporary Mediterranean studies, queer and trans feminist studies, and critical human geography. Their primary research is on 20th and 21st century literature and other cultural responses to racism, misogyny, colonialism, and other relational aspects of inequality and oppression between Europe (in particular, Italy), East Africa, and the Mediterranean. They are also invested in black trans poiesis (that is, both poetics and the philosophy of creation/creativity in relation to black trans theory, reading praxis, and embodiment) as practitioner and theorist.
Smythe’s first academic monograph, 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. It theorises black belonging against the ethnoracial and gendered assumptions of Southern European, Mediterranean, and African identity/identification. They are also completing a collection of poetry and accompanying sound installation project, titled proclivity, which focuses on a familial history of black migration (between Britain, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Italy), trans embodiment, and emancipation. Smythe is the editor of Troubling the Grounds: Global Configurations of Blackness, Nativism, and Indigeneity special issue from Postmodern Culture and is currently developing Transnational Black Studies, an edited volume dedicated to global encounters and fissures between black studies and modern languages.
Black Studies, cultural memory and diasporic archival practices, black and migration literature, anticolonialism, trans poetics, black geographies, black feminisms, literary imagination, and transdisciplinary black method(s)
Selected Edited Volumes:
SA Smythe, ed. “Troubling the Grounds: Global Configurations of Blackness, Nativism, and Indigeneity.” Special issue of Postmodern Culture, vol. 31, nos. 1 & 2, September 2020 & January 2021
Julia Heim, Charlotte Ross, and SA Smythe, eds. gender / sexuality / italy, vol. 6, 2019: Italian Queer Cultures.
Selected Recent Articles:
SA Smythe, “Black Life, Trans Study: On Black Nonbinary Method, European Trans Studies, and the Will to Institutionalization.” TSQ, vol. 8, no. 2, 2021: “Europa,” 158–171.
SA Smythe. “Technologies of Black Freedoms: Calling On Black Studies Scholars.” Logic Magazine. “Beacons” special issue, December 2021
SA Smythe. “Black Italianità: Citizenship and Belonging in the Black Mediterranean.” California Italian Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 2019: “Italia senza frontiere (Borderless Italy),” 1–19.
proclivity #5 (Rome, Italy, 2022)
Exhibition: SEDIMENTS. After Memory
Venue: SPAZIO GRIOT @ Mattatoio Museum (Rome, Italy)
Curator: Johanne Affricot
ALTRIMENTI – Altre / menti (Florence, Italy, 2022)
Collaborative performance with Autumn Knight
Venue: Palazzina Indiano Arte (PIA) and Centro di Produzione della Danza Virgilio Sieni
Curator: Serana Trinchero
INF1005/1006: Methods and Memory Work
INF2121: Specialized Archives: Black Studies and the Archive