About the Organizers

SA Smythe is a poet, translator, and scholar of Black European literary & cultural studies, contemporary Mediterranean studies, and Black trans poetics. They are an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA, currently completing the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. At present, Smythe is working on three book projects. The first, Where Blackness Meets the Sea: On Crisis, Culture, and the Black Mediterranean, is a transdisciplinary study of Black Italian, migrant, and postcolonial women’s cultural production focused on the racialized notions of citizenship and belonging in the wake of self-initiated “crises” of migration and the attendant levels of dispossession across Europe, East Africa, and the Mediterranean. The second book is a volume of poetry, titled proclivity, which focuses on Black migration, trans embodiment, and emancipation. The third project is a is a translation of trans rights activist Porpora Marcasiano’s political memoir, L’aurora delle trans cattive [The Rise of the Bad Trans Women], from Italian to English. Their work has been published in The Middle East Reportgender/sexuality/italyCritical Ethnic Studies, the National Political Science ReviewThe Johannesburg Salonokayafrica, and elsewhere.

Vanessa Eileen Thompson is a research associate and lecturer at the Institute of Sociology at Goethe-University Frankfurt. She is currently a distinguished guest lecturer in Gender and Queer studies at the University of Cologne, Germany. Her research and teaching are focused on black studies, critical race and racism studies, critical criminology and security studies, post- and decolonial feminist theories and methodologies, gender and queer studies, urban sociology and geography, and social movement theories.

Her book project, Solidarities in Black: Anti-Black Racism, Black Urban Activism and the Struggle beyond Recognition in Paris, explores forms of black urban activism and anti-racist mobilizations against anti-black racism in France as well as analyzes the re-production of coloniality and anti-blackness through the workings of neoliberal French Republican Universalism. Her current research project focuses on racial gendered policing in Europe and transnational articulations of abolitionist visions and alternatives from a black feminist perspective. Vanessa has published articles on the work of Fanon, black social movements in Germany and France, and racial gendered policing in Europe. She organizes in abolitionist movements in Europe and beyond.

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