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Dear Science and Other Stories


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Table of Contents

He Liked to Say that This Love was the Result of a Clinical Error ix
Curiosities (My Heart Makes My Head Swim) 1
Footnotes (Books and Papers Scattered about the Floor) 14
The Smallest Cell Remembers a Sound 35
Consciousness (Feeling like, Feeling like This) 58
Something That Exceeds All Efforts to Definitively Pin It Down 71
No Place, Unknown, Undetermined 75
Notes 79
Black Ecologies. Coral Cities. Catch a Wave 83
Charmaine's Wire 87
Polycarbonate, Aluminum (Gold), and Lacquer 91
Black Children 95
Telephone Listing 99
Failure (My Head Was Full of Misty Fumes of Doubt) 103
The Kick Drum Is the Fault 122
(Zong) Bad Made Measure 125
I Got Life/Rebellion Invention Groove 151
(I Entered the Lists) 168
Dear Science 186
Notes and Reminders 189
Storytellers 193
Diegeses and Bearings 211

About the Author

Katherine McKittrick is Professor of Gender Studies at Queen's University, editor of Sylvia Wynter: On Being as Human Praxis, also published by Duke University Press, and author of Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle.


"Drawing from black anticolonial thought and study, black poetics, music, and expressive arts, Katherine McKittrick's Dear Science and Other Stories is an experiment in materializing black method and black wonder in stories of black livingness and relation, in spite of conditions of racial colonial violence and antiblack science of maps, algorithms, and life chances. It insists on other sensoria, consciousness, creation, and knowing-a black sense of place." -- Lisa Lowe, author of * The Intimacies of Four Continents *
"Freedom is a place made through rehearsals of thought and human-environment inter-action. Katherine McKittrick's stories show geography in the making through their persistent refusal to recite empirics of suffering and catastrophe. What a gift to travel these surprising, complex paths through rage toward life. I am grateful for this book." -- Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of * Change Everything! Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition *
"In this innovative, rich work, Katherine McKittrick works tirelessly to make us aware of how Black thought is a form of knowledge production. McKittrick uses a fascinating essay structure - stories and letters to science - to discuss jazz, computer science, poetry, Black history, and more. It contains one of the most powerful analyses of scientific racism that I've read in recent times, arguing that sometimes our efforts to articulate race and racism as social phenomena actually reinforce the idea that they are somehow biological in nature." -- Chanda Prescod-Weinstein * Bookriot *
"McKittrick's prose is beautiful and timely, and she demonstrates that there is a cost to reducing Black life to any description without deep thought. Her readers-no matter their relationship to science-are pressed to question what we know, how we know, and who we know. Dear Science urges us to be cautious of a single narrative, to articulate our thoughts with exacting labor, and it provides insight into how we can create a universe beyond Black suffering." -- Edna Bonhomme * The Baffler *
"Reading the richly poetic and sonically-driven Dear Science, we can see the many complex projects and thoughts of McKittrick's work. The stories are citational observations and calls for a theory and method of storytelling and reading practice as a way to undo discipline (41), a reimagination of the academic text as a genre and incomplete visions of defining 'science'. The text itself is artfully arranged, breaking from the conventional academic structure. . . ."
-- Anna Nguyen * LSE Review of Books *
"For those of us working inside, along, and through environmental studies, the environmental humanities, science studies, and all disciplines in between, Dear Science challenges us to confront the stories that our fields of study tell us about ourselves and the world around us and to consider what is possible if we center Black ways of knowing to imagine more equitable futures." -- Erin Gilbert and Leah Rubinsky * ISLE *
"You are my black feminist answer to Borges and his short story, 'On Rigor in Science.' In the rigor and incisiveness of your stories you challenge and dismantle singular, unified, totalizing representations, narratives of classification and ways of knowing and being that discipline and punish, stifle, crush and suffocate. In their stead, you offer and practice relationality, generative collaborative praxis, black creative consciousness, method, and life. Thank you." -- Hazel Carby * Society and Space *
"Dear Science is like no other scholarly book." -- Dina Georgis * Society and Space *

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