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Interdisciplinary Black Expressive Cultural Study

ENGL 569.401
instructor(s):
M 9-12

Interdisciplinary Drawing on a variety of disciplines which have historically constituted the core of Afro-American Studies, including English, History, Political Science, Sociology, Music, Art History, Film, and Anthropology, this course will investigate the possibilities and challenges of a truly interdisciplinary practice of black expressive cultural investigation. In addition to surveying a range of essays and book chapters which clearly bear the imprint of the traditional disciplines in which they participate, we will investigate a series of writings which, while obviously grounded in one of the mainstream departmental discourses, attempt to speak cogently and suggestively across disciplinary boundaries. We will not assume that such interdisciplinary conversations are easy -- in fact, as we will see quite clearly, they are, in fact, marked by a kind of discomfort that suggests the very difficulty of the endeavor -- but we will strive to discern what the benefits and costs of these activities are. In addition, we'll explore how the theorization and practice of such modes of analysis and representation as cultural studies, investigations of race, gender, and place, and multigeneric artworks help us to think about the task of moving across discursive boundaries. This course will be supplemented by a series of events -- lectures and discussion group activities, among others -- sponsored by the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture. Course requirements: one brief (6-8 page) essay, one longer (10-15 page) essay, and an oral report.