ENGL368K - Special Topics in the Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora; The Art of Black Social Movements: Marcus Garvey to Black Lives Matter
Syllabus:
Section(s):
In this course, we will explore the significance of art to the history of black social movements, paying particular attention to the art of embodied performance. Since the inception of transatlantic slavery, black people have historically been denied access to written modes of expression. Under these conditions, non-written forms of communication—like embodied performance—have been vital to black artistic and cultural production as well as black political participation. This course will consider the social, political, and aesthetic possibilities that emerge in and through acts of “staging” the black body in performance, namely as a way to advance the goals of social movements. Starting with the modern Civil Rights Movement and ending with Black Lives Matter, we will also study the Black Power Movement, the Black Feminist Movement, Black Queer Liberation Movements, black environmental justice movements, and movements for healthcare justice. Our journey will take us from the plays of James Baldwin and Edward Albee to the sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; from the poetry performances of Amiri Baraka, Gil Scott-Heron, and Nikki Giovanni to marches, sit-ins, and die-ins; from musical performances by Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé to Colin Kaepernick’s most recent performances of kneeling. In short, we will have two primary tasks in this course: 1) to critically analyze the artistic and political histories of contemporary black performance and 2) to understand these histories in relation to black social movements.

 

Note: Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.