I’m Chris Krycho, and this is Across the Sundering Seas, my mostly-weekly newsletter on what I’ve been studying, reading, and generally thinking about. Feel free to unsubscribe—or to forward it to a friend who could use something more like this in her reading life! (I hope at least someone out there could use something more like this in her reading life!)
This week, I’m mostly sharing a few quotes from Simone Browne’s Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. The book seems extremely timely in light of the nation-wide protests in response to George Floyd’s brutal, unjust death—but I did not pick it for that reason. Indeed, my friend and Winning Slowly cohost Stephen and I picked this as one of the key books we needed to read and talk about on this season of the podcast some six months ago. The book sits squarely in the center of our current focus on the intersection of epistemology and technology.
More than that, though, it points directly at a critical reality: while this round of protests has (rightly!) pushed all of these issues to the fore again, and even seems to have started making a dent, these issues are not new. To the contrary, they have been a part of American history from very nearly its beginning. Racism is not the whole of America’s story, but its vile stain has, wretchedly, always been a central part of her story. So we’re reading Browne’s book, which sits squarely