Cosmologies of Breath

Monday, 26 February, 2024 - 16:00

Presented by : 


My grandfather is dead
he was vomiting blood, my mother says
lungs contaminated by history

brimming full with mine dust.

These are the opening lines of the epic poem Mine Mine Mine (2023), a personal narration of my family’s experience of the migrant labour system brought on by the gold mining industry in Johannesburg, South Africa. Using geopoetics to map geopolitics, it maps scales of catastrophic environments, or ecologies of crisis, from my grandfather’s lungs to colonial capitalist sites of Black breathlessness. The epic poem reveals how the extraction of natural resources from the body of earth is contingent upon the extraction of the Black body from the body of humanity. In this session I think through the process of writing and performing Mine Mine Mine, which I view as existing within the black feminist tradition of imagining, ‘making’ and ‘doing’ against the commodification of humans and earth. I work from ‘an elsewhere’ – from Southern African cosmologies which rupture the logics and limits of New Worlding cosmology – from which I refuse the terms of wreckage, detritus, and ruin by experimenting with poetics of aliveness, possibility, communion, and futurity.

Excerpts from the book will be provided as springboards to a discussion. Please familiarise yourself with the embodied reading from Mine Mine Mine here:

General seminar arrangements

  • The WISH seminar is hosted on-line every Monday afternoon at 16:00 - 17:00 SA during the teaching semester.
  • A printable version of the seminar schedule for the current year is available here.
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  • Participants must read the paper prior to the seminar, which is typically available by the Friday preceding the seminar.
  • The WISH seminar archive is available here