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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GWSS 8260: Race, Representation, and Resistance FALL 2017

GWSS 8260: Race, Representation, and Resistance
Terrion Williamson | Fall 2017 | Tuesdays 2:30-5:00 PM | Bruininks Hall 119


This year, the National Women’s Studies Association will mark the forty-year anniversary of the Combahee River Collective statement, or what has come to be known as the black feminist manifesto. In accordance with this significant milestone and the NWSA’s commitment to considering the various ways that the Movement for Black Lives and its affiliate campaigns extend Combahee’s mission, this course will examine the development and direction of black feminist research and praxis since 1977 across a range of cultural sites and fields of inquiry including literature, history, law, film, art, and public policy.
Given the important work Combahee did in advocating around the serialized murders of twelve black women that occurred in Boston in 1979, we will place particular emphasis on studies that focus on racialized gender violence as it affects black women and girls. And, in recognition of Combahee’s principle of grounding its work and writing in the experiences of black women who labor beyond and outside of the academy, we will also interrogate the terms of feminism itself in order to consider how the academic enterprise of feminism specifically functions to shape our analyses of black subjectivity.

Although this course is, like much of black feminism, obviously indebted to Combahee, it is consummately forward-looking, concerned primarily with thinking about how Combahee has helped to set the stage for our more contemporary, and future, black feminist endeavors. As such, students will be expected to enter the course with a basic familiarity of the key moments, thinkers, and terms that have helped shape the field (a list of preparatory texts is available upon request). Students will also be expected to alternatively facilitate class discussion and to complete a final review essay and one or more response papers.

Representative Course Texts*

Nicole R. Fleetwood,
Troubling Vision (2010)
Gayl Jones,
Eva’s Man (1976)
Jennifer C. Nash,
The Black Body in Ecstasy (2014)
Beth E. Richie,
Arrested Justice (2012)
Hortense J. Spillers,
Black, White, and in Color (2003)
L.H. Stallings,
Funk the Erotic (2015)
Shatema Threadcraft,
Intimate Justice (2016)
as well as essays by Daphne Brooks, Barbara Christian, Brittney Cooper, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Erica Edwards, Evelyn Hammonds, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Wahneema Lubiano, Tricia Rose, Kimberly Springer, and others.

Keywords: feminism, postfeminism, sex positivity, racialized gender violence, representation, sexuality, narrative, subjectivity, intersectionality, eroticism, identity, criticism, blackness, pleasure, carcerality, criminalization...
Questions? Contact Terrion Williamson: tlwillia@umn.edu