The Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto held its annual Lynch Distinguished Lecturer Series with guest speaker Keguro Macharia in conversation with Deb Cowen and Nikoli Attai. “Suture: Notes On Method” took place on Zoom on October 21.
keywords: repair, invention, Black Diaspora Suture names a strategy to work across difference.
To hold two or more things and to deliberately craft relation. Not presuming that relation should exist or that there is even one way relation should work. But to invent the strategies needed to craft ongoing relation. To see the work and the craft and the seam and the scar. Suture sits in my mouth as quotidian repair. I want to think about repair not as the effect of devastation, though we cannot escape devastation, but as what sustains a quotidian we want to make and inhabit. Suture sits in my mouth as a technology that I am moving into metaphor, even as I want to hold on to flesh. Suture might name what is held through acts of invention. In this meditation, I sit with Audre Lorde’s practice of working across difference and ask how suture, as invention and repair, maps Black women’s aesthetic practices.
Keguro Macharia is an independent scholar from Nairobi, Kenya. Macharia’s scholarship explores the relation between difference and freedom across the Black Diaspora, focusing specifically on the seam between Africa and the Black Diaspora. Macharia is the author of Frottage: Frictions of Intimacy across the Black Diaspora (NYU Press, 2019).
Deb Cowen is Professor in the Department of Geography & Planning at the University of Toronto. Her work explores how the spaces of everyday life are assembled, reproduced, contested, and transformed. She focuses on questions of circulation and infrastructure, attending to the co-production of race and space, sexuality and social ordering, and the intimate life of war in ostensibly civilian spaces. She is the author of Military Workfare: The Soldier and Social Citizenship in Canada. (University of Toronto Press, 2008); The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade. (University of Minnesota Press, 2014); co-editor of War, Citizenship, Territory. Routledge (2008); and co-author of ) Reassembling the Infrastructures of Citizenship: Digital Life in the Global City. (UBC Press, 2020). Her current research, entitled, Spineless: Infrastructure for the Apocalypse, explores the key role of socio-technical systems in the colonization of North America, and unearths alternative visions and forms of infrastructure to reorient us on a path to survival, justice and flourishing.
Nikoli Attai completed a collaborative PhD in Women and Gender Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto in 2019. From 2020-2021, he served as the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow. He is currently working on his first book manuscript titled Queer Liberation? Interrogating Human Rights Activism and the Queer Caribbean, which interrogates the work being done by activists and non-governmental organizations in the Anglophone Caribbean and Toronto, Canada, and theorizes that current queer human rights interventions fail to adequately address the deeply complicated ways that queer people negotiate and resist homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination in the region. His research and teaching focus on Black queer studies, transnational feminism, transgender studies, and transnational sexuality studies, with a particular focus on the Global South.