In this interdisciplinary class, students of race as well as gender, sexuality, disability, etc. read deeply and broadly in academic journals as a way of learning the debates in their fields and placing their scholarship in relationship to them. Students report each week on the trends in the last five years of any journal of their choice, writing up the articles' arguments and debates, while also revising a paper in relationship to those debates and preparing it for publication. This course enables students to leap forward in their scholarly writing through a better understanding of their fields and the significance of their work to them.
Intensive reading of Marx's Capital vol. 1. We read the work closely from beginning to end during the semester. Attention is paid to questions of translation. Knowledge of German is not required, but be prepared to engage with the German text. Secondary readings and other writings by Marx will be included as necessary.
A survey of Shakespeare's linguistic resources, from several standpoints: the history of the language, the art of rhetoric, problems of attribution (including the potentials of computational stylometrics), and poetics. Over the course of the semester we study six plays, including Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, and The Winter's Tale. There are weekly exercises in stylistic description and imitation. Our questions: how does Shakespeare sound like himself? (Does he sound like himself?) How does he sound like others, like his age, like his readers? And his characters--can we ask the same questions of them?
Resistance to imperial expansion and exploitation is a familiar theme of twentieth-century projects of Black liberation. Less familiar are the specific, but no less significant, cases where empire is imagined as a source of Black freedom and self-determination. This seminar surveys U.S.-originating works of Black imperial representation and critique from the 1900s to the present. Framed by readings of historical and speculative fiction, the seminar engages scholarly debates on Blackness, diaspora, coloniality, and empire through writings by Sylvia Wynter, Adom Getachew, Nadia Nurhussein, and Erica R. Edwards.
What happens to forms across time? Moving beyond the juxtaposition of history and theory, we explore theories of poetic forms in several historical periods and compare these to 20th- and 21st-century ideas. Using the ballad, the sonnet, the lyric, and the line as grounding, we collect, read, and critique both criticism and poetry. When and how does an example of a poetic form take the place of a story of a poetic form? Do our methodologies of reading poetry now and in the past rely on a shared understanding of what a form might mean? How, and when, do poetic forms become abstractions of genres (or abstractions of persons)?
What is the "racial" in racial capitalism? The question is posed by abolitionist scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and we take it up by exploring how literature, media, & art supply an analytic on capitalism's racial logics. It's easy to read texts for descriptions of racial capitalism. The difficult task resides in reading for the mediation between race and capital that the form of the texts enacts. To do this, we learn from Black, Asian American, Indigenous studies; Marxist aesthetic theory; and feminist, anticolonial, environmental critiques of capitalism.
Frantz Fanon is among the most important intellectuals of the twentieth century whose writings are critical in rethinking our world. In this course we will read all of Fanon's major writings: Black Skin, White Masks, A Dying Colonialism, Toward the African Revolution, and The Wretched of the Earth, as well as essays in Alienation and Freedom. Students must acquire and read David Macey's biography, Frantz Fanon: A Life, before the seminar begins.
This interdisciplinary seminar explores responses to unequal access to resources and exposure to risk amid widening economic disparity. To engage these concerns, we venture to India, the Caribbean, South Africa, France, Kenya, Palestine, the U.S., Japan, the Faroe Islands, the UK, Australia, and Cambodia. Issues include: climate justice, the Anthropocene, intergenerational injustice, water security, food security, deforestation, the commons and the politics of access, Indigenous movements and cosmologies, environmentalism of the poor, the gendered and racial dimensions of environmental justice, and the role of writer-activists.