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he essays and narratives below were written between January 2021 and August 2021. The first set of texts (Part One) by Carby, Georgis, Cowen, Haley, Browne, Gardner, and Gilmore were first shared on May 11, 2021, at the Dear Science and Other Stories/A Reading and Conversation. Natalie Oswin commissioned the second set of texts, which are presented as a separate-collective narrative (Part Two). Written by Subramaniam, Asante, Samudzi, James, and Moriah, these texts follow Oswin’s only directive: not to replicate the typical “author meets critics” model but instead offer openings and reflections. Together, these different and divergent texts, Parts One and Two, engage and walk through and extend Dear Science and Other Stories.
While I was researching and writing Dear Science and Other Stories I experienced several moments of loss—ideas crossed through me that I could not bear to narrate or revisit. There are stories and attachments that remain wordless. Underwriting the loss was, of course, a recognition that the unsaid and the unwritten—holding back, telling half of the story, keeping a secret, twisting the plot—is black methodology (Young, 2012; Alexander, 2004). “How do we spatialize the secret,” I wondered. And then, rushing: “No. Please don’t colonize my hearts.” (I remember Natalie Diaz [2020: 5] writing, “in my chest I am two hearted always” and something shifted). Underwriting the loss is, as well, a deep desire for embrace: the longing to entangle Dear Science with texts, sounds, and ideas that I could not know or say without friendships and books and essays and poems music, while also centering the knotted relations that made the stories possible (see also Gilroy, 2004).
The texts, stories, and songs below are cherished. These narratives build worlds that I did not anticipate. This is what possibility feels like.
Thank you, Kendall Witaszek, Deb Cowen, Charmaine Chua and Natalie Oswin, for imagining this symposium and threading these texts together.
Katherine McKittrick is Professor of Black Studies and Gender Studies at Queen’s University. She authored Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle and Dear Science and Other Stories.