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Course Details

Fall 2018-2019
AAS 499 / ENG 499 / AMS 499 (EC)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Theoretical Approaches in Black Studies

Nijah Cunningham

This course stages a critical survey of key theoretical approaches and debates that have shaped the contemporary discourse of black studies. We will read recent works by scholars who take up what is casually referred to as "the study of blackness" from different vantage points such as black feminist theory, postcolonial criticism, afro-pessimism, queer-of-color critique, and black radicalism. The course particularly focuses on the question of criticism as it emerges within this discursive field and demonstrates how topics like the archive, citationality, and style provide alternate ways of thinking theory and the project of black studies.

Sample reading list:
Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition
Saidiya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making
Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition
Frank B. Wilderson, Red, White & Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S.
Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Five short papers (2-3 pages) that stage a close reading of a significant passage from one of the text; one in-class presentation; and an annotated bibliography in lieu of a final (30%)

Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Papers - 40%
Oral Presentation(s) - 20%
Class/Precept Participation - 10%

Other Requirements:
Graduate Students and Seniors Only.

Reserved Seats:
Seniors Only 5
Open to Graduate Students Only 10


Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
23281 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm T   Stanhope Hall   101   Enrolled:4 Limit:15