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Dele Adeyemo

Borders, Human Itineraries, and All Our Relation

Borders, Human Itineraries, and All Our Relation

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Four Alchemists. One book. A constellation of ideas.

In November 2022, the first annual Alchemy Lecture took place at York University in Toronto, bringing four deep and agile writers from different geographies and disciplines into vibrant conversation on a topic of urgent relevance: humans and borders. Now, in these pages, that conversation is captured and expanded in insightful, passionate ways.
    Architect, artist, and urban theorist Dele Adeyemo (UK/Nigeria) calls attention to the complexity of Black infrastructures, questioning how “the environments that surround us condition the possibility of our being.” Poet Natalie Diaz (US/Mojave/Akimel O’otham) writes: “Like story, migration is the sensual movement of knowledge,” and asks, “What is the language we need to live right now?” Philosopher Nadia Yala Kisukidi (France) suggests there is no diasporic life “without the dynamics of fabulation, where we pass down, from generation to generation, the stories of our ancestors who walked barefoot for many months.” And cultural theorist Rinaldo Walcott (Canada) asks us to consider inheritances beyond white supremacist logics: “What might it mean to live a life, if we can’t risk desiring and working towards utopia?”
    As each Alchemist considers the legacies of anti-colonial struggle, the future of the planet, and the textures of Black and Indigenous life, their essays speak to each other in multiple ways, creating something startling and revelatory: a vision of the world as it is, and as it could be.

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Alchemy by Knopf


The Alchemy Lecture is a partnership between York University and Knopf Canada, organized by Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities at York, CHRISTINA SHARPE. She is the author of In the Wake: On Blackness and Being; Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects; and Ordinary Notes (Knopf Canada, April 2023).

DELE ADEYEMO (UK/Nigeria) is an architect, creative director, and urban theorist. A Canadian Centre for Architecture's Andrew Mellon Fellow and Het Nieuwe Instituut's Research Fellow, he teaches at London's Royal College of Art. NATALIE DIAZ (US/Mojave/Akimel O'otham) is an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. She is the author of When My Brother Was an Aztec, winner of the American Book Award, and Postcolonial Love Poem, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. NADIA YALA KISUKIDI (France) is Associate Professor in philosophy at Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis University. She specializes in French and Africana philosophy, and has also written a novel, La Dissociation. RINALDO WALCOTT (Canada) is Professor and Chair of Africana and American Studies at the University at Buffalo. He is the author of On Property and The Long Emancipation: Moving Toward Black Freedom.

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