The Dictionary of Dark Matters

This past summer, thirty students studied the critical theory of technology alongside each other, stewarded by American Artist and Zainab 'Zai' Aliyu.

Together, we created The Dictionary of Dark Matters — a self-published people's dictionary written over the course of ten weeks. It is an abundance of poetry, prose, creative writing, personal history and illustration filled with terms we have come across during our time together.⠀

The duration of our time together coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing movement for Black Lives (particularly in response to the murder of George Floyd), and the calling out of various academic institutions and places of work (including our own) for their perpetuation of anti-blackness. The class, "Dark Matters: On Blackness, Surveillance and the Whiteness of the Screen," gave us intentional time to tend to ourselves as we contend with this predatory state, to study the material while existing within the systems we are learning to name.⠀

The class and culminating publication takes its namesake from Simone Browne's book Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, a critical text that address the origins of so many recurring dynamics of power that operate through high technology. ⠀

The publication is available for free digitally and can be purchased physically at

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Source: The Dictionary of Dark Matters
Cover image edited on 10/16/20