This article shifts our attention elsewhere, to the places where living is predicated on knowing with, through, and sometimes as waste. Coming out of a larger project detailing the anti-Black geographies of “long-distance” waste management, the author argues that waste infrastructure holds together white property value and produces absented spaces of Black condemnation, the material “fill” to construct white propertied futures. Against white property, the author follows Betty, a Black sex worker in the Tidewater Region of Virginia, who teaches how stealing, swiping, salvaging, telling, and laboring waste are themselves critiques of how property orders earth, and they are ecological modes forged elsewhere. Through the analytics of flyness, becoming fill, and queer Black geometries of relationality, Betty shows us that living as and proximate to waste refracts fugitive articulations of gender on the move. Always moving at the intersection of Blackness as “a waste of space” and becoming waste object herself, Betty's flyness opens an ecological horizon for rethinking the matter that matters.
Ecologies Elsewhere: Flyness, Fill, and Black Women's Fugitive Matter(s)
Marisa Solomon is assistant professor of women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her work focuses on how Black improvisation with waste's form and meaning upends environmental paradigms. She has published on the materiality of waste and anti-Black histories of urban planning and gentrification in the Journal of International Labor and Working-Class History. She is the codirector of the Black Atlantic Ecologies project at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Social Difference, where she is affiliated with the Earth Institute.
Marisa Solomon; Ecologies Elsewhere: Flyness, Fill, and Black Women's Fugitive Matter(s). GLQ 1 October 2022; 28 (4): 567–587. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-9991341
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