Katherine McKittrick is a professor in Gender Studies at Queen’s University. She is an academic and writer whose work focuses on black studies, cultural geography, anti-colonial and diaspora studies, with an emphasis on the ways in which social justice emerges in black creative texts (music, fiction, poetry, visual art). While many scholars have researched the areas of North American, European, Caribbean, and African black geographies, McKittrick was the first scholar to put forth the interdisciplinary possibilities of black and black feminist geography, with an emphasis on embodied, creative and intellectual spaces engendered in the diaspora.
Since 2005, she has been Professor in Gender Studies at Queen’s University, with joint appointments in Cultural Studies and Geography. She is currently Editor at Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography.
McKittrick’s work has focused on black feminist thought and cultural geography, as explored in her book Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle (2006). The book has been reviewed in Gender, Place & Culture, Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Religion, & Literature, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies and American Literature. The book was followed by Black Geographies and the Politics of Place (2007), which she co-edited with Clyde Woods. The book has been reviewed in Canadian Woman Studies.
McKittrick’s research draws on the areas of black studies, anti-colonial studies, cultural geographies, and gender studies, and attends to the links between epistemological narratives and social justice. Creative texts she analyzed include music, music making, poetry, visual art, and literature, while specifically looking at the works of Sylvia Wynter, Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Robbie McCauley, M. NourbeSe Philip, Willie Bester, Nas, Octavia Butler, Jimi Hendrix, Dionne Brand and Michael Jackson.
McKittrick's 2014 article, "Mathematics Black Life" argues that since the presence of blackness in the colonial archive is conditioned by slavery, black death and anti-black violence, subsequent scholarly analyses of these histories often "repeat and cherish anti-black violence and black death." McKittrick argues further, "If the source of blackness is death and violence, the citation of blackness—the scholarly stories we tell—calls for the repetition of death and violence. The practice of taking away life is followed by the sourcing and citation of racial-sexual death and racial-sexual violence and blackness is (always already and only) cast inside the mathematics of unlivingness (data/scientifically proven/certified violation/asterisk) where black comes to be (a bit)." According to McKittrick, to be committed to a decolonial logic that undoes and resists anti-black violence rather than reproduces it, black studies scholars must read the archive differently. This alternate reading aims to uncover instances of black freedom within the transatlantic archive as inherent to the mathematics of anti-black violence, or "as possibilities that are iterations of black life that cannot be contained by black death." McKittrick offers an example of this kind of alternative citational practice throughout the essay, as she persistently emphasizes and returns to the plight of an unnamed, formerly enslaved woman who, as recorded in the Book of Negroes, claims she was "born free at Newtown, Long Island." For McKittrick, this ex-slave's claim to freedom offers an opportunity for scholars to "trust the lies" that exist in the archive of slavery in order to locate and dwell on instances of black freedom.
- Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015 (Editor and Contributor)
- Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006.
- Edited with Clyde Woods, Black Geographies and the Politics of Place. Toronto: Between the Lines Press & Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2007.
- "Rebellion/Invention/Groove." Small Axe 49 (March 2016): 79–91.
- "Wait Canada Anticipate Black". CLR James Journal, 20:1 (Fall 2014): 243–249.
- "Mathematics Black Life", The Black Scholar, 44:2 (Summer 2014): 16–28.
- Katherine McKittrick, "Fantastic Still Life: On Richard Iton (A Working Paper)", in Contemporary Political Theory (February 2015): 24–32.
- "Plantation Futures", Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism, 3 42 (November 2013): 1–15.
- "On Plantations, Prisons, and a Black Sense of Place", Journal of Social and Cultural Geography, 12:8 (2011): 947–963.
- "Science Quarrels Sculpture: The Politics of Reading Sarah Baartman", Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature—A Special Issue: Sculpture, 43:2 (June 2010): 113–130.
- In conversation with Carole Boyce Davies, "Intellectual Life: Carole Boyce Davies’s Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones", MaComere: The Journal of the Association of Caribbean Writers and Scholars (April 2008): 27–42.
- "I Entered the Lists…Diaspora Catalogues: The List, The Unbearable Territory, and Tormented Chronologies—Three Narratives and a Weltanschauung", XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics, 17 (2007): 7–29.
- "Their Blood is There, and They Can’t Throw it Out': Honouring Black Canadian Geographies", Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 7 (2002): 27–37.
- "'Who Do You Talk To, When a Body’s in Trouble?': M. Nourbese Philip’s UnSilencing of Black Bodies in the Diaspora", Social and Cultural Geography, 1:2 (2000a): 223–236.
- "'Black and ‘Cause I’m Black I'm Blue': Transverse Racial Geographies in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye", Gender, Place and Culture, 7:2 (2000b): 125–142.
- "Yours in the Intellectual Struggle", in Katherine McKittrick, ed. Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2015: 1–8.
- Sylvia Wynter and Katherine McKittrick, “Unparalleled Catastrophe for Our Species? Or, To Give Humanness a Different Future: Conversations,” in Katherine McKittrick, ed., Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2015: 9–89.
- Katherine McKittrick. "Axis: Bold as Love: On Sylvia Wynter, Jimi Hendrix, and the Promise of Science" in Katherine McKittrick, ed. Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2015: 142–163.
- With Clyde Woods, "Introduction: No One Knows the Mysteries at the Bottom of The Ocean", in Katherine McKittrick and Clyde Woods (eds), Black Geographies and the Politics of Place. Toronto: Between the Lines Press; Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2007: 1–13.
- "Freedom is a Secret: The Future Usability of the Underground", in McKittrick and Woods (eds), Black Geographies and the Politics of Place. Toronto: Between the Lines Press; Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2007: 97–111.
- "Dancing with Audre Lorde: Positive Obsession, Knowledge, and Some Explosions Inspired by Cathie Dunsford’s The Journey Home/Te Haerenga Kainga", in Karin Meissenberg (ed.), Talkstory—The Art of Listening: Indigenous Poetics and Politics in the Work of Cathie Dunsford. Germany: Global Dialogues Press, 2007: 88–104.
- Hudson, Peter (Fall 2014). "Canada and the Question of Black Geographies: An Interview with Katherine McKittrick". The CLR James Journal. 20 (1): 233–240. doi:10.5840/clrjames201492215.
- Cresswell, Tim (2013). Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction. West-Sussex, UK: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 271–272–274. ISBN 978-1-40516940-0.
- Mohanty, Chandra; Jacqui Alexander (2010). Transnational Feminist Praxis. USA: State University of New York. pp. 23–44. ISBN 978-1-4384-2938-0.
- "York University Alumni- Completed PhD Dissertations". Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Andy, Kent. "Meet Antipode's New Editorial Collective". The Antipode Foundation. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- McKittrick, Katherine (2006). Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-81-66-4701-9.
- "Demonic Grounds on University of Minnesota Press Website". University of Minnesota. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Mahtani, Minelle (December 2006). "Book Review - Demonic Grounds: Black women and the cartographies of struggle, Katherine McKittrick, 2006 Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press". Gender, Place & Culture. 13 (6): 697–714. doi:10.1080/09663690601019950.
- Davis, Thadious (2011). Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Religion, & Literature. North Carolina, USA: University of Carolina Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-8078-3521-0.
- Ballantyne, Darcy (2007). "Respatializing Black Women's Geographies". Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. Diasporic Pasts and Futures: Transnational Cultural Studies in Canada. 17 (Spring): 166–168. ISSN 1916-0194.
- Young, Cynthia (December 2007). "At Home in Diaspora: Blackc International Writing/Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of struggle". American Literature. 79 (4): 840–842. doi:10.1215/00029831-2007-049.
- "Black Geographies and the Politics of Place on South End Press Website". South End Press. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- McKittrick, Katherine (2007). Black Geographies and the Politics of Place. Cambridge, USA: South End Press. ISBN 978-1-897071-23-6.
- Beckford, Sharon Morgan (Spring 2009). "Review: Black Geographies and the Politics of Place". Canadian Woman Studies. 27 (2/3): 128–129.
- Katherine McKittrick, "Mathematics Black Life", in The Black Scholar 44, no. 2 (Summer 2014), p. 18.
- McKittrick, "Mathematics Black Life" (2014), p. 20.
- >McKittrick, "Mathematics Black Life" (2014), p. 17.