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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2018


ENGL 53.41 Black Love & Its Discontents: Barry Jenkins

How might we think about the shape, tenor, and texture of something like black love, its core principles and practices, in a world where anti-black sentiment serves as a structural logic? In the midst of such unrelenting violence, how have black people managed to love each other, love themselves, love living? What language have they crafted, historically, to describe such an expansive, radical project? For the purposes of this course, we will linger with a wide range of cinematic and literary moments with the aim of framing a much larger conversation about the uses of black art-making as a means through which we might access a critical vocabulary for black feeling; might assert the breaking into the world of a black love that is both resistance and that which exceeds it, love as a sort of black operation, black love as an act of marronage. Towards that end, this course will employ the films of contemporary writer and director Barry Jenkins, and place them in direct conversation with a larger constellation of writings within the African American literary tradition. Through our collective investigation of these texts, we will work together toward the elaboration of an aesthetics of black love.

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