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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2022

ENGL 53.51 The Idea of Black Culture

The Idea of Black Culture offers a reading of conceptualizations of the subject of black culture across a historical time line that begins with W.E.B. DuBois’s Souls of Black Folk (1903) and proceeds through successive periods of black cultural apprenticeship in the geopolitical context of the Americas. Those eras may be characterized according to four broad rubrics or temporal themes as follows: 1) the Pan-African movement, pursued as a practice by black activists at the turn of the twentieth century and after the end of WWI; 2) the era of decolonization and the mounting of the Civil and human rights campaigns in the United States, the Caribbean, and independence movements on the Sub-Saharan African Continent, which events share the global context of the “Cold War” (from the Marshall Plan to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, 1989, and the dismantling of the Soviet Union, 1991); 3) the birth of the Black Studies movement (alongside the resurgence of black nationalism) and the development of the new epistemologies of the post-‘sixties and beyond, and finally 4) the emergence of the concept of the African Diaspora and the post-race/post-colonial thematics of the late twentieth-early twenty-first century, marked by the presidency of Barack Obama. Each of these eras of human and social engagement has engendered its own distinctive work on the idea of black culture. This seminar will examine some of those ideas by analyzing selective texts by W.E.B. DuBois, C.L.R. James, Aimé Césaire, and Frantz Fanon. The course will be taught in two halves, beginning with the seminal texts of canonical figures like Du Bois, and proceeding to a critical inquiry into the projects of contemporary scholars and theorists that will include selective work by Saidiya Hartmann, Fred Moten, Nahum Chandler, Denise da Silva, and Frank Wilderson, as well as other representative figures of the schools of Afro-Pessimism and Critical Race Theory.

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:LIT; WCult:CI

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.