ENG610 201702 Graduate

Winter 2018
ENG 610
Applies To: 
Theorizing Global Blackness and the African Diaspora
Department Section Description: 

In this interdisciplinary seminar students will be introduced to historical, theoretical, social, and cultural approaches to understand the multiple meanings and articulations of blackness across time and space. To study blackness is to study how race suffuses social, cultural, political, economic, and legal parameters. We will engage with the following questions: What is Blackness? What does it mean to occupy a Black body? How has our understanding of Blackness changed over time and space? What are the potentials and limitations of Blackness as a category? We will examine articulations of blackness in the US, Britain, the Caribbean, Canada, Ghana, and South Africa in order to understand the discursive production of blackness in different temporal and spatial contexts. We will also consider the relationship between blackness and ethnicity, diaspora, class, gender, and sexuality. Furthermore, we will seek to understand what, if anything, connects these different articulations of blackness. In order to delve into these questions we will examine the manner in which the Middle Passage, transatlantic slavery, colonialism, imperialism, apartheid, mass incarceration, and the gendered racial terror that defined these systems of power and exploitation—the effects of which are still felt across the Americas, Europe, and Africa—produced and continues to produce blackness as a racial category. We will engage with what it means to be black in an anti-black world and will consider how blackness is represented, consumed, and negotiated. Furthermore, we will also examine texts that turn to race, particularly blackness, to critique the genre of the human, which, at its core, has always been anti-black. Students will be introduced to different critical approaches to the study of blackness that includes diaspora and transnational studies, black feminist thought, black queer studies, and visual culture studies.