(if you would like PDF copies of any writings listed below, don’t hestitate to contact me and I will send it your way!)
“Afterimages and the Synaesthesia of Photography,” in Philosophy of Photography 12.1-2, (Winter 2023): 111-127.
This article takes as its focus the concept of the ‘afterimage’ and its relationship to memory, the synaesthetic experience of perception and the multisensory turn within the study of photographic images. Afterimages have consistently been described as phenomena of visual persistence where, optically, a recorded moment of the past leaks into the present and remains visible before us on our retinas. By recasting this originary understanding of an afterimage as simply a ghostly, optical occurrence and insisting that the phenomenon exceeds the visual and is rather an intersensorial occurrence, I seek to present how encounters with images stay with us in powerful ways and across many senses at once. As an intervention within the field of image theory and photography studies that builds upon the relatively recent turn away from prioritizing visuality and instead shifting towards multisensoriality – what we might also term as the ‘more-than visual’ – this piece proposes that if images exceed the visual and carry with them physical, haptic, sonic and affective qualities, then perhaps the afterimage is not something that we merely see but also what we can feel and hear and move-with. Perhaps the afterimage carries an intensity and an afterlife which lingers in our minds and can take hold of our entire body and our senses, composing and recomposing them over time. By pairing such inquiries alongside the narrative, literary and poetic works of Dionne Brand and Nathaniel Mackey – both of whom write of the intersensorial quality of photographs and afterimages with a particular kind of lively openness – I am hoping to intervene into the ongoing ‘more-than visual’ turn within the field of image theory by infusing it with a narrative-oriented synaesthetic vocabulary.
“In the Legacy of Marronage: The Sir George Williams Affair and Acts of Refusal, Protest, and Care.” Special issue on Legacies of the 1969 Sir George Williams Student Protests in TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 44, Eds. Nalini Mohabir and Ronald Cummings (Spring 2022): 137–149.
At its core, this article is concerned with the relationship between Black life and the university. It is focused on those working and studying in and at the interstices of the university—those for which the university itself was made to exclude; those for whom the university cannot begin to know how to include. By attending to the events of the 1969 Sir George Williams Affair, which took place in Montreal, Canada, as well as the events preceding it, I consider how the occupation of the ninth floor computer centre by the university’s Black students operated within a legacy of refusal that can be traced back to an earlier history of resistance, specifically, to acts of marronage. Moreover, this article will seek to advance how the siting of spaces for protest, resistance, and solidarity by Black students illustrates how a lineage of marronage is at once a continuance of a project and practice of an ethics of care.
“Makers and Keepers: Two Lives, Through Photographs.” Special issue on Black Canadian Creativity, Expressive Cultures, and Narratives of Space and Place in Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire, 56.3, Ed. Cheryl Thompson (Winter 2021): 292-319.
Looking through the pages of family photo albums or the folders of photographic archival fonds can only be described as holding history in your hands. Whether it is in the form of colour or black and white prints, negatives, or slides, these photo-objects carry histories of lives lived that go beyond their frames. Focusing on a set of oral history interviews conducted with two Black women living in Montréal — a community photographer or image “maker” who was most active during the 1970s–1990s and a photo-collector or “keeper” who is currently active in preserving and sharing photographs for her church and wider communities within the city — this article engages with how the interweaving of photography and oral history gives us a rich way to experience the histories of Black social life in Montréal. Photo-led oral history interviews are sites for fruitful and in-depth conversation, providing interviewee and interviewer alike with the possibility of coming into encounter with everyday or minor histories that are too often overlooked. Moreover, this article is driven by a set entwined questions: How does oral testimony open up additional avenues for sharing the events of the past that have been captured through photographic images? What affective and relational qualities do photographs possess and how, in turn, do these qualities transform the space of the oral history interview? And, most urgently, why was photography used by Black Montréalers as a tool and a practice to remember and insist upon their collective presence?
“Life After Demolition: The Absented Presence of Montreal’s Negro Community Centre.” Special issue on Loss and the City in Urban History Review 48.2, Eds. Laura Madokoro, Steven High, and Laura Ishiguro (Spring 2021): 56-75.
In 2014, The Negro Community Centre (NCC) located in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood of Montreal was demolished after being closed for nearly 25 years. As one of the first organizations of social, cultural, and community support for Black folks in Montreal during the twentieth century, it is remembered by those who attended as a site of empowerment and encouragement. While almost all the building’s debris has been removed from the site, there still remain large stones surrounding the hole were the NCC once stood as a reminder of the loss of a site of Black sociality. In the physical world the NCC no longer exists, however, when its 2035 Coursol address is entered into Google Street View, the centre stands upright—its digital presence defying its physical absence. As such, this article is an opening-up of what it means to experience place through images and through “digital remains”. In doing so, it proposes that an understanding of the experiential can be taken up anew through a focus on lost material sites of Black life or Black geographies. In what ways can virtuality and spatial imagery generate a paradigmatic shift in how we participate and observe the past? With a particular focus on the interplay of presence and absence as well as the virtual and the actual, this article is concerned with paradoxical encounters with images.
“Beyond Ontological Autonomy: Finding One’s Self in Relations” in Identity Landscapes: Contemplating Place and the Construction of Self. Ed. Ellyn Lyle. Brill | Sense Publishers, 2020, pp. 174-184. Co-written with Peter Graham, Mindy Carter, and Rena Upitis
ESSAYS & THESES
“Prolonging the Afterimage: Looking At and Talking about Photographs of Black Montreal” (2021), Master’s Thesis completed at Concordia University in the Individualized Program - School of Graduate Studies.
“New Pasts, Old Futures: Reimagining the Narrative of Montreal’s Negro Community Centre.” Art, Education, Politics and Poetry at Montreal’s Negro Community Centre, special issue of Quebec Heritage News, edited by Rod MacLeod, vol. 12, no 1, Fall 2017, pp. 25-27.