ENGL702 - Cultures of Theory: The Black Diaspora: History, Theory, Culture

The Black Diaspora names an aggregate of fields and approaches—African American studies, Caribbean studies, African studies, the black Atlantic, and the interstices between and across all of these. With a seemingly limitless appetite for space and time, this interdisciplinary field continues to grapple with its own restless internal contradictions about its proper methods and objects of study: roots or routes, identity or its dissolution, stasis or movement. This class introduces students to the field of the black diaspora and the debates that animate it through a select reading of foundational texts across a range of fields and disciplines: literary studies, history, and anthropology. Throughout the semester, we will track the conversations and concerns that suture fields and disciplines; we will also pay attention to missed opportunities and critical blindspots. Authors and scholars we engage will include C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Paul Gilroy, Joan Dayan, Zita Nunes, and Katherine McKittrick. Assignments include an oral presentation, an annotated bibliography, and a seminar-length paper.

Reading List:  C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins; Frantz Fanon, Black Skins, White Mask; Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism; Edward Kamau Brathwaite, History of the Voice;  Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic; Katherine McKittrick, Demonic Grounds; Brent Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora;  Joan Dayan, Haiti, History, and the Gods; Zita Nunes, Cannibal Democracy; Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring.