F20 Black Atlantic: Resources, Pedagogy, and Scholarship on the 18th Century Black Atlantic

[Week 1] Where Do You Know From?

Katherine McKittrick inspired Eugenia Zuroski to develop a questionnaire whereby students situate themselves and relate to others both interpersonally and in regards to the larger constructions of identity, history, and institutional access.
  1. What is your name?
Reed Caswell Aiken; I always try to use my middle name because it is my mother’s surname and thus important to her.
  1. Which pronouns would you like us to use in reference to you?
  1. What are your intellectual interests?
I am most intellectually passionate about Caribbean literature since the early twentieth century.  I recently completed a project on literary foremothers, the paradox of the white creole, and an instantiation of a poetics of horror in the West Indian literary tradition.  I am also a major cinephile and something of a political wonk, which consume a fairly serious amount of my intellectual energies though I do not pursue them in an academic way, per se.
  1. How did your interests come to you?
I have loved literature since at least high school, and I specifically came across Caribbean literature largely by chance at the PWI I attended for undergrad.  As one of the most predominantly white institutions I can think of, it was by a stroke of luck that we had a visiting professor of Africana literature who offered a course in Caribbean fiction, and that coincided with another course on postcolonial literature of the British Empire that also featured Caribbean texts.  Jamaica Kincaid was my gateway author, particularly due to her vivid and even vicious poetic prose.
Cinema, meanwhile, is simply the art form that most directly communicates the world to me; and I imagine I could not help but be invested in politics to some degree as a DC native with parents in the civil service.
  1. What is your intellectual work for?
To this question, I do not have a good answer, and that is something on which I will actively have to reflect.
  1. What else would you like us to remember and recognise about you when we in engage in conversation with you?
To this I particularly have no answer.  My unfamiliarity with question sets like these probably speaks to something else I will have to interrogate about myself.

Work Cited

Zuroski, Eugenia. "'Where Do You Know From?': An Exercise in Placing Ourselves Together in the
     Classroom." Mai: Feminism & Digital Culture, 17 Jan. 2017, maifeminism.com/where-do-you-know-
     from-an-exercise-in-placing-ourselves-together-in-the-classroom. Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

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