(what we know, don’t know, pretend to know, wish we knew and where): 125 Sites of Knowledges from Maroon Studies Session 2

24 07 2015


Last week Maroon Studies Session 2: Necessary as Water confronted what we know, what we cannot know, our desires around knowledge and how place and relationship transform the possibility of knowledge.  Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Mohanty in particular challenged us to produce alternative sites of knowledge and to knowledge how the knowledge we know gets made.  Here are 125 affirmations, desires, questions, places, and possible and impossible knowings we remembered, found and articulated together.

things I know

I know I am loved.

I know my ancestors are with me.

I know I am loved by my ancestors.

I know that I am loved and loving.

I know how my lover takes their coffee.

I know love.

I know that my name is a prayer that carries love.

I know loving on the land.

I know how I’m not supposed to love.

I know refusal.

I know that it was not always this way and that this too shall pass.

I know contradiction.

I know loss.

I know that plants are medicine.

I know swimming in water is good for my soul

I know that every living thing and being is connected.

I know my own little secrets.

I know the power of prayer

I know that dreaming holds me.

I know what I am here to be.

I know how to change a flat.

I know how to build a fire.

I know survival.

I know very little about most things and infinite amounts about a thing or two.

I know that somehow this is enough.


 things I don’t know


I don’t know my grandmother, my father’s mother.

I don’ t know the stories of my grandmothers.

I don’t know my great great grandmother’s story.

I don’t know pathways.

I don’t know survival.

I don’t know who in the hell set things up like this.

I don’t know what childbirth feels like.

I don’t know what giving birth will feel like.

I don’t know exodus.

I don’t know what happened to the journal I lost so long ago but still miss

I don’t know what of what we planted will grow, and what will just not.

I don’t know if the rain will come.

I don’t know how deep the deepest point of Seneca Lake is (even though Wikipedia says it is 618 feet).

I don’t know utopia.

I don’t know how to fly a plane.

I don’t know edges.

I don’t know what kind of spider bit me or why.

I don’t know how to talk back to harassers.

I don’t know what my face will do.

I don’t know what I can and cannot accomplish in any given day.

I don’t know when and how long.

I don’t know what day I will die.

Or the days that everyone I love will die either.

I don’t know how the story ends.

I don’t know how to make it right.

things I pretend to know


I pretend to know that the sun will keep rising, even though I am sometimes surprised.

I pretend to know my own enoughness.

I pretend to know who I am.

I pretend to know why I am pretending to know who I am.

I pretend to know why I am doing what I’m doing.

I pretend to know where I’m going.

I pretend to know directions in general.

I pretend to know how to handle difficult situations, right in the midst of them.

I pretend to know what’s wrong and how to fix it.

I pretend to know ethicality.

I pretend to know how to make choices that impact my children.

I pretend to know how to cook.

I pretend to know how to garden.

I pretend to know that I am hungry when it’s eating time.

I pretend to know the meaning of heart murmurs.

I pretend to know community.

I pretend to know people whose names I cannot remember.

I pretend to know what all the initials stand for.

I pretend to know militancy.

I pretend to know who my congress people are.

I pretend to know how to write academic papers.

I pretend to know how to act at an academic conference, and other approximations of upper-middle class professional environments.

I pretend to know survival.

I pretend to know loss.

I pretend to know why it hurts.

locations that challenge what I know



my lower back

my left knee, which challenges what i think i know about healing

western medicine

my left big toe.  (people always step on it.)

places where i feel small, insignificant, unworthy, and un-belonging

boxes, corners, squares

my mother’s bed

1321 Highland Ave.



colonial spaces

classrooms–sometimes more and sometimes less

meetings with my supervisor



my Beloved and our partnership, in more ways than i can count

the Rothko chapel


the airport, which challenges what i know about human goodness, and the essential kindness and decency of humanity

Tel Aviv Airport

5 Edgegrove Street.

Anguilla BWI (emphasis on the BWI)

my altar


things I wish I knew

I wish I knew my Uncle Fred better, he’s hardly ever around.

I wish I knew how Malcolm felt approaching Mecca.  Do I?

I wish I knew that I would finish my dissertation.

I wish I knew that the decisions I am making now will be the best ones for my three children and myself.

I wish I knew how to grow tomatoes.

I wish I knew how to say no with more ease, less guilt, and with a forgiving heart

I wish I knew what it felt like to be deliberate and afraid of nothing.  Do I?

I wish I knew how to best be of service in any number of moments

I wish I knew the undercommons.

I wish I knew how to give without taking.

I wish I knew forgiveness.

I wish I knew how to unburden my mother.

I wish I knew survival.

Where does being a granddaughter go, when your grandparents leave this world?

I wish I knew the stories of my Indigenous grandmother and grandfather.

I wish I knew how to pray right.

I wish I knew how to access my dream knowing inside of my bone, and sinew

I wish I knew what my great great great great great grandmother felt like when she was dancing.  Maybe I do.

I wish I knew how to relax into sleep when it is time for these things.

I wish I knew that this too shall pass, that that possibility is a given.

I wish I knew mourning.

I wish I knew why lovely loss rises up in moments least expected.

I wish I knew love in exactly the moments I forget it.

I wish I knew how to make my love work in the world.

I wish I knew love.

Maybe I do.  Maybe I do.


Now is the time to sign up for August’s Maroon Studies Session #3

Intensive #3: Blood, Water and Land August 10-12, 2015 (12pm to 2pm Eastern)

This webinar is for ride or die radicals who live to love the people. Drawing on the legacy of Sisters in Support of Sisters in South Africa, the solidarity journalism of Alexis DeVeaux, the blood ecologies of Jewelle Gomez and Audre Lorde and the salience of spit, saltwater and sangre, we will explore connections, contradictions and discursive possibilities across imperial divisions towards tangible outcomes.

8 spots are available. $175-225 sliding scale (payment plans available).

You can reserve your spot by offering a $50 non-refundable deposit here (please include the name of the webinar in the notes):