The explosion of interest in Afrofuturism in the last two decades speaks to an ever more urgent desire to understand how people of color project themselves into narratives of both the future—and the past. Moreover, the work of Afrofuturist intellectuals has been profoundly concerned with matters of gender and sexuality. Indeed, examinations of inter-racial and inter-species “mixing,” alternative family and community structure, and disruptions of gender binaries have been central to Afrofuturist thought. In this course we will examine these ideas both historically and aesthetically, asking how the large interest in Afrofuturism developed from the early part of the twentieth century until now. Focusing primarily on science fiction and fantasy literature, the course will treat a broad range of artists including, W.E.B. DuBois, George Schulyer, Marlon James, Octavia Butler, Andrea Hairston; Nalo Hopkinson; N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, and others.
The course examines the intertwined histories of race, gender, and sexuality in the American South from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 through the present. We will consider how struggles for gender and sexual freedom are linked to race in the modern South. The course proceeds along two tracks: first, we gain knowledge about the lives of women, trans people, and gay people in the South. Second, we consider how African Americans, women, and LGBTQ individuals struggled for freedom and how these efforts changed over time in response to opposition, developments elsewhere in the world, and victories. We will explore the circumstances under which people from different backgrounds come together in pursuit of a common goal and the times when conflicts arise. We will read poetry and novels, manifestos and diaries, and secondary literature written by historians. In addition, we’ll watch videos and listen to music to understand the different ways people queered the South during the last century. The course recognizes that Southerners do not fit neatly into racial, gender, or sexual boxes and so investigates the intersections of identities to lend complexity and verve to the histories of people often forgotten.
A bastardized German, a jargon, a woman's vernacular, an old world language, a dying and ghostly tongue, a Hasidic language, a queer language, a radical language-these are just a few of the ways that Yiddish has been labeled over its one-thousand-year history. This course will trace the shifting politics attached to Yiddish from its early modern beginnings as a language of translation between Jewish and non-Jewish cultures to its postwar vacillation between a language of mourning and nostalgia, Jewish American humor, Hasidic isolation, and contemporary Jewish radicalism.... Read more about The Politics of Yiddish
This course introduces students to the poetry, literary prose, and artful correspondence of one of the major poets of the twentieth century, considering her innovations in all these genres. We will look at her writing in multiple genres alongside the mid-century shift from ‘closed’ to ‘open’ verse forms, and relate stylistic issues to the intellectual and social changes, and political and historical developments of the period.... Read more about Elizabeth Bishop and Others
What does is it mean to be, or feel as, a woman? This course will survey major female authors from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who ask these questions in their novels, plays, and essays.... Read more about Modern Women Writers
In a powerful essay, the late writer and activist Audre Lorde suggested, “Where the words of women are crying to be heard we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives.” Lorde is not alone in asking us to pay attention to and take responsibility for women’s stories; for centuries scholars and activists alike have championed the words of women, including women of color and queer women, whose stories have routinely gone untold or unheard.... Read more about Expository Writing 20: Telling Her Story: Narrative, Media, and #MeToo