English 9144B

Autobiography and #black lives matter

Professor T. Osinubi
Winter Half Course.

The rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement has revivified interest in the relations between anti-black violence and African American lives and deaths. This seminar will examine the modalities through which authors/critics probe and theorize these deaths as well as the modes of habitation with which individuals respond to life under duress. We will assess a number of positions and critical vocabularies that inform recent scholarship on the social phenomenon of Black lives/death: post-blackness, color blindness, Black feminist thought, social death, and Afro-pessimism. We will also analyze films, life writing, and essays that illuminate the historical terrains of Black Lives Matter Movement.

The objectives of this seminar are: (1) to introduce students to the poetics of death/dying in contemporary African American life writing; (2) to elaborate genealogies for the theorization/representation of black lives;(3), to identify the characteristic features that attend the confluence between social justice movements and life writing; and, (4), to identify key concepts, vocabularies, and positions with/from which critics respond to anti-black violence.

Reading List (in seminar sequence):

Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me.
Margo Jefferson, Negroland.
Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reap.
Edwige Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying.

View the course syllabus here: English 9144B.