"I believe in Black Study and “Black Sacred Breath: Historicity, Performance and the Aesthetics of BlackPentecostalism” is about the possibility for such a collective intellectual project.1 Black Study is the force of belief in blackness set loose in the world, disrupting the institutionalization and abstraction of thought that produces the categorical distinctions of disciplinary knowledge. To make a claim for belief – in and of Black Study – is to already trouble and disrupt epistemological projects founded upon pure reason, pure rationality, in the service of thinking with and against how that which we call knowledge is produced and dispersed. Black Study is a wholly unbounded, holy, collective intellectual project that is fundamentally otherwise than an (inter)discipline"
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire speaks of education as a practice of freedom, contrasting it with education as a practice of domination.
What does study look like when it is not aligned with becoming qualified and meeting criteria?
What does it look like without the neurotic energy spent on essay anxiety and grade chasing?
What does therapeutic study look like when it is extricated from the profit margin and the limitations of school and academia?
If you were to design your training now - what would it look like?
And given our study, our training is never finished - how is your study informed by what you need to develop, practice and stretch and how much of that is determined by the shape of CPD in the commercial scene?
If you were to design your study and make your study according to what is needed in the world right now what would that look like?
“A couple people seem to be reticent about the term ‘study,’ but is there a way to be in the undercommons that isn’t intellectual? Is there a way of being intellectual that isn’t social? When I think about the way we were using the term ‘study,’ I think we were committed to the idea that study is what you do with other people. It’s talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering, some irreducible convergence of all three, held under the name of speculative practice. The notion of a rehearsal – being in a kind of workshop, playing in a band, in a jam session, or old men sitting on a porch, or people working together in a factory – there are these various modes of activity. The point of calling it ‘study’ is to mark that the incessant and irreversible intellectuality of these activities was already there. These activities aren’t ennobled by the fact that we now say, ‘oh, if you did these things in a certain way, you could be said to be have been studying.’ To do these things is to be involved in a kind of common intellectual practice. What’s important is to recognize that that has been the case – because that recognition allows you to access a whole, varied, alternative history of thought.”
― Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study
― Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study
Katherine McKittrick, ed., Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2015, 290pp.;
"In the acknowledgements to Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, editor Katherine McKittrick writes that '[a]ny engagement with Sylvia Wynter demands openness' (px). Thinking with Wynter demands openness because her insights, if we take them to heart, undo the disciplines that condition what we can know and say about the world. What Wynter wants is nothing less than a collective 'rewriting of knowledge as we know it' (p18), a challenge that asks us thinkers, creators, knowledge-makers, storytellers to accept disorientation in exchange for the possibility of exercising 'dazzling creativity' (p17) as we recalibrate our sense of who 'we' are. Wynter's project of completely transforming Western ways of knowing derives from her argument, following Frantz Fanon, that humanness is hybrid. We are, in Wynter's terms, both bios and mythoi; flesh-and-blood organisms that also (re)invent ourselves by telling stories of where we came from and what we are. What we need, then, are forms of knowledge that are adequate to the fact that 'humanness is no longer a noun. Being human is a praxis' (p23, emphases in original).
So thinking with Wynter demands openness. And it takes time. In a brief introduction to the collection, McKittrick describes Wynter's anticolonial insights as 'knots of histories and ideas and relational narratives', the entangled results of Wynter's working across the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and the arts (p3). This knottiness makes itself felt even at the level of the sentence. The sixty-page call-and-response that anchors the book--an archive of interviews, discussions, and written exchanges between McKittrick and Wynter that began in 2007--showcases the denseness of Wynter's mode of expression. Her sentences are thick with asides; long dashes that facilitate transdisciplinary leaps--from critical race theory to neuroscience and back again--allow her to loop more connections, more implications, into her claims".
If we consider ourselves and the people we work with as 'knots of histories and ideas and relational narratives'. Knots that need unravelling maybe? Knots that need recognition, to be witnessed.
What happens when we practice "re-writing knowledge as we know it a challenge that asks us thinkers, creators, knowledge-makers, storytellers to accept disorientation in exchange for the possibility of exercising 'dazzling creativity' as we recalibrate our sense of who 'we' are".
“As Black people, if there is one thing we can learn from the 60s, it is how infinitely complex any move for liberation must be. For we must move against not only those forces which dehumanize us from the outside, but also against those oppressive values which we have been forced to take into ourselves. Through examining the combination of our triumphs and errors, we can examine the dangers of an incomplete vision. Not to condemn that vision but to alter it, construct templates for possible futures, and focus our rage for change upon our enemies rather than upon each other.”
― Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches