Graduate Course Description

350:605 - Black Feminist Poethics

Course No:  350:605
Index #: 14722 
Distribution Requirement:  A5, B, C, D
Tuesday - 12:10 p.m.
MU 207

Black Feminist Poethics
Evie Shockley

In her 2014 treatise on Black feminist poetics--or poethics--Denise Da Silva suggests that the Black feminist poet “peers beyond the horizon of thought, where historicity (temporality/interiority), framed by the tools of universal reason, cannot but yield violence” and offers, in lieu of the time/space structured by universal reason, “a moment of radical praxis” that acknowledges Blackness as creative capacity, reclaims Black value, and demands decolonization.  This class, "Black Feminist Poethics," is an inquiry into such peerings beyond thought, such moments of radical praxis. Focused on the study of 20 and 21st-century Black feminist writers, artists, and critics, we gather an archive of Black feminist poethics to ask: How do we theorize the role of gendered Blackness in structuring the modern world? How does Black feminist studies approach the intersections of being, reason, embodiment, and creative practice? How do Black feminist creators work in various media to linger in the ruins of The World while building new worlds?

This class will take shape as a set of lively conversations between artistic production and criticism. Our texts will be drawn from: classical critical theories of blackness, gender, and modernity by Hortense Spillers and Sylvia Wynter; recent works in literary and cultural studies by Soyica Colbert, Kevin Quashie, L.H. Stallings, Mecca Sullivan, Marquis Bey, Erica Edwards, Margo Crawford, and Katherine McKittrick; and contemporary and very contemporary poetry/prose by Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Lucille Clifton, Dionne Brand, Simone White, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and Lorraine Hansberry.  

Requirements will be one class presentation, three book reviews, and a conference-length (8-10 page) paper.