9549 - Racial Melancholia and the Politics of Diaspora - The distinction between mourning and melancholia tends to suggest that one is preferable to the other, that there is a stubborn and unhealthy narcissism in not letting go of sadness, of not moving on. This course will take up the coercive implications of the necessity of "curing" sadness through a study of race and the politics of diaspora. Following from Anne Anlin Cheng's work on the melancholy of race and the relationship between grievance and grieving, we will explore the implications of recuperating melancholia for the study of diaspora. Within this exploration, we will take up several related issues including: reconciliation and redress; the relationship between the postcolonial and the diasporic; nostalgia; racial memory and haunting. We will examine writing by Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Fae Myenne Ng, Gayl Jones, Edwidge Danticat and Fred Wah, and music ranging from Duke Ellington to Arcade Fire to the Roots. In addition to the work of Adorno, Benjamin, Derrida and Freud on melancholia, memory and the spectral, we will also look at the critical work of Ian Baucom, Jonathan and Danial Boyarin, David Eng, Fred Moten, Avery Gordon, Saidiya Hartman, David Kazanjian, Vijay Mishra, and Gayatri Spivak.
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