Within traditional Western scholarship, the practice of reading is generally perceived as a solitary intellectual pursuit and the practice of critique considered a form of analysis based on judgement, hierarchization and refutation. This supposedly neutral image of the solitary scholar and the stringent regulations of Western scholarship have been formed through the colonial, patriarchal and classist history of the academy. Inspired by current urgent decolonial and feminist discussions embracing multiple ways of knowing and in conversation with the work of black feminist scholars such as Jennifer Nash, Amber Jamilla Musser and Saidiya Hartman, my research will investigate the complexities of reading and critique as material, social practices.
The outcome of my project will be a new practice-as-research methodology for decolonial and feminist critique, grounded in what I call an expanded literacy. If literacy in its most basic sense is the ability to read and write, then an expanded literacy is one that enables the literate to read and write multimodally. Drawing on this expanded literacy, the methodology will be developed through embroidery and printmaking practices built upon the foundations of my existing citational practice of 'Stitch Theory', which involves reading, extracting, devotionally embroidering and gifting quotations from scholarly texts.
Following this thread, I will explore the imbrication of the supposedly domestic and gestural practice of embroidery and the purportedly public and static practice of printmaking. Through my engagement with these media I will elucidate how the circulation of scholarly thought is informed by material conditions and the perception of those materialities. The creation of the methodology will be advanced through a series of participatory workshops and interventions, allowing me to generate research material and challenge the chronically entrenched colonial and patriarchal conception of text as a fixed, linear object.