Black Studies Courses Offered 2019-2020

Bodies of Transformation | ENGL 41500

C. Riley Snorton

  • Drawing on trans studies, disability studies, histories of science, queer and postcolonial theory, this class contends with how bodies and bodies of knowledge change over time. Bodies of Transformation takes a historiographic approach to the social, political, and cultural underpinnings of corporeal meaning, practice and performance in the 19th and 20th centuries. Animating questions include: what is the corporeal real? how is race un/like gender? how does bodily transformation map the complex relationships between coercion and choice?

Of Whiteness | ENGL 46751

Chris Taylor

  • In his essay “The Souls of White Folk,” WEB Du Bois asks, "But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?" This course will explore a multiethnic cultural and theoretical archive that grapples with the patterned and partial irrationality of this excessive racial desire. How does whiteness structure the racial/social field? What mechanisms regulate—or have regulated—populations’ access to and desire for it? (18th/19th)

Hemispheric Studies | ENGL 52102

Rachel Galvin

  • This course examines the Hemispheric Studies approach to the literature of the Americas, which combines a commitment to comparativism with attention to the specificities of local contexts ranging from the Southern Cone to the Caribbean to North America. We’ll investigate debates about the theories and uses of a method that takes the American hemisphere as its primary frame, yet does not begin with the U.S. as the default point of departure; and the conceptual and political limitations of such a method. Theories drawn from American Studies, Canadian Studies, Caribbean Studies, Latin American Studies, Poetry and Poetics, Postcolonial Studies, and U.S. Latinx Studies will be explored in relation to literature primarily written in the 20th and 21st centuries by writers residing throughout the Americas. In the last part of the course, we’ll take meta-theoretical look at the development of Hemispheric Studies and the politics of academic field formation. No knowledge of Spanish or French is required. (18th/19th, 20th/21st)

Theories of Racial Perception | ENGL 55105

Adrienne Brown

  • We tend to talk about racial perception as a singular and instantaneous act, but it is perhaps better understood as a complex series of procedures involving judgment, reading, rationalization, instinct, and conjecture that normally go undescribed. In this course we will read theory, criticism, and literature considering the varying combinations of techniques, processes, structures, and convictions that allow a subject to believe they are having an experience of race. How have writers variously learned to describe and call into question the mechanics of racial perception? And is imagining the end of racial perception the same as imagining the end of race? Exploring works from a variety of traditions, eras, and genres, we will trace investigations into race’s perception as a color, a lack, a sense, a sound, a shape, a pathology, a habit, a surface, a depth, and a spell.