Kevin Quashie is a Professor of English at Brown University. He is the author or editor of four books, most recently Black Aliveness, or A Poetics of Being.
Title: “Memoir. Sign. Circumference.”
Abstract: In some instances, the word circumference means “carry around,” which is a mathematical capacity rendered in embodied or relational language, in the language of responsibility. “Carry around”: I want to think about A Map to the Door of No Return as a manifestation of this carrying around, where the work of language is a work of mathematics, where the work of history is the work of language as a work of mathematics, where the work of being is the work of language which is the work of history and mathematics. In Brand’s creativity, we are inspired to understand history and measurement as companion practices, as we are called to think about the dangerous and liberating idiosyncrasies of what we carry. “Where we stand and how we go is history,” a historian reminds us, and this declaration is part of the ethos Brand’s Map bequeaths us.