English 250

Research Seminar: Black Cultures of Gender and Sexuality


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2020 Ellis, Nadia
Tues. 3:30-6:30 650 Barrows

Book List

Emezi, Akwaeke: Freshwater; Fanon, Frantz: Black Skin, White Masks; Hemphill, Essex: Ceremonies; Kay, Jackie: Trumpet; Larsen, Nella: Passing; Miller, Kei: The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion; Salkey, Andrew: Escape to an Autumn Pavement; Selvon, Sam: The Lonely Londoners

Other Readings and Media

Films & Television: Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust; Shirley Jackson, Portrait of Jason; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight; Isaac Julien, The Attendant; Jennie Livingston, Paris is Burning; Janet Mock, Steve Canals, et al, prod., Pose.

Course Reader will include essays and excerpts of critical work from writers including M. Jacqui Alexander, Judith Butler, Cathy Cohen, Rey Chow, Roderick Ferguson, Stuart Hall, Saidiya Hartman, Audre Lorde, José Esteban Muñoz, Robert Reid-Pharr, Christina Sharpe, C. Riley Snorton, Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley, and Gloria Wekker.

*Please consult course instructors before purchasing texts.

Description

This seminar, offered in collaboration with the Department of African American Studies and co-taught with Professor Darieck Scott, explores theories and cultures of gender and sexuality from the perspective of black diasporic people. We will focus on the modern and contemporary eras, moving from the 1920s to the present day, but inevitably our texts will ask us to think critically about history and about time—about how the specific fragmentation and lineages of black cultures inform ideas about modernity. The course emphasizes articulations of sexuality and ideas of gender that move beyond those presented as normative. And we will think with critics who have learned from the experiences and practices of black diasporic people about how to articulate subjectivities within and between historical and theoretical traditions—critics such as Hortense Spillers, Cathy Cohen, Roderick Ferguson, Omise'eke Tinsley, Tavia Nyong'o, C. Riley Snorton, and Gloria Wekker, among many others. We'll traverse genres—fiction, poetry, film, television—and we'll think along with the artists and scholars we study about how questions of blackness, sexuality, and gender inform other epistemological categories drawn from such fields as religion, psychology, and geography. Students will write regular short pieces, make in-class presentations, engage with class visitors, and write a final research paper.

This section of English 250 is cross-listed with African American Studies 240 section 1.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

spring, 2020

250/1

Research Seminar: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Representing in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction

250/3

Research Seminar: Critique of Capitalism, or Reading Marx Now

fall, 2019

250/1

Research Seminar: The English Department

250/2

Research Seminar: Transcendentalism

spring, 2019

250/1

Research Seminar: Philosophical Idealizations of Art and Modernist Practices

fall, 2018

250/3

Research Seminar: Textual Communities and the Modern

250/4

Research Seminar: Evolution and Literary Form, 1800-1900

spring, 2018

250/2

Research Seminar: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Representing in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction

250/3

Research Seminar: Milton and the English Civil War

250/4

Research Seminar: The Rhetoric of Technique

250/5

Research Seminar: Black Abstraction

fall, 2017

250/1

Research Seminar: Victorian Cultural Studies

250/2

Research Seminar: How to Write a Book

250/3

Research Seminar: Paranoid States: Empire and the Rise of the Surveillance State

250/4

Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, Modernism

spring, 2017

250/1

Research Seminar: Wordsworth and Coleridge in Collaboration

250/2

Research Seminar: Modernism in Poetry and in Art

250/3

Research Seminar: Idols and Ideology—Readings in Augustine, Milton, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Kant, Marx, Freud, Althusser


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