Painting of a mermaid with a snake wrapped around her

This graduate seminar will investigate the production, circulation, and translation of 20th- and 21st- century Afro-diasporic cultures that track the Middle Passage and traverse Africa, Europe and the Americas. Taking a cultural materialist approach to literature, visual arts including film, and music, we will think about these works less as finished products than in terms of their movement, exchange, and translation within transnational circuits. Through this lens, we will take up questions of how the histories and losses of the Black Atlantic shift boundaries between persons, spirits, things, and animals; what archives and methods re-member these histories and losses; what political, civic, legal, and disciplinary sites produce Black Atlantic subjects and subjections; and how queer, feminist, immigrant, and indigenous relations forge new Afro-diasporic ontologies, politics, and collectivities.

Course Requirements: Midterm short paper (8-10 pages), presentation, and longer seminar paper, written in stages. Authors may include: Paul Gilroy, Toni Morrison, CLR James, Zadie Smith, Zora Neale Hurston, Erna Brodber, Sylvia Wynter, Nnedi Okorafor, Alice Childress, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, and others.

MA-Lit Course Designation: C (Bodies/Identities/Collectivities), Multicultural/ Postcolonial, Literature After 1800