Seminar on Black Feminist Thought
This course will be an interdisciplinary, multimedia examination and analysis of how Black women across the Diaspora negotiate the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and class. The focus will be on the Afrocentric feminist epistemology and the visionary pragmatism of Black feminist thought. While the central focus will be on Black feminists in the United States, we will read or view works by Black feminists in Britain, Canada, and the Caribbean.
It is crucial that each student make a commitment to prepare all reading assignments faithfully; this commitment must be undertaken with the understanding that the course is reading intensive and every reading may not be covered in depth. The readings have been chosen to provide different perspectives on an issue or theme. In order to understand the issue or theme as an organic whole it is paramount that each student complete all reading assignments and PARTICIPATE in class discussions. Such participation means LISTENING AND SPEAKING with respect and civility; all discussions will be text-based. More specific requirements are:
- During the first week of the class, each student will join our course blog which has been established on wordpress.com. Each student will post her/his reflections and responses to the blog. These reflections MUST be on an intellectual AND emotional level and will be evaluated accordingly. Please make sure to MAKE A HARD COPY OF YOUR POSTING, because each blog entry will have to go into your course binder.You are greatly encouraged to respond to each other’s postings. More details and instructions are in Appendix A.
- Each student must subscribe to ONE of the following blogs. Each week, each student will write a 1-2 page reflection on a post from the blog of her/his choice. The post you examine should deal with intersectionality (broadly defined) and relate to the topic under discussion during that week in the course. I will collect and respond to these reflections every week and return them to you promptly so that you can place them in your binder.
- Each student will compose an “at-home” analytical essay on how course readings, films, musical selections, blog postings, or any combination of the above helped you come to different (I hope higher) level of consciousness about Black Feminism. You should discuss frankly areas where you accepted or resisted the information presented, and how well you participated in class interactions and discussions. The MINIMUM length of the essay is ten pages. This essay will be submitted in the course binder (see next item.)
- Each student will keep a Course binder in which s/he will keep hard copies of blog responses to the readings and class discussions; and weekly reflections on posts from the blog of her/his choice . You will be graded weekly on both these components and late postings to our blog as well as late reflection papers will be penalized. To avoid penalty, postings must be made to the blog by 12:00N on the Friday of the week when the reading assignment is due, with one exception. See Appendix A for dates. The final component of the course binder will be analytical essay described in the previous bullet.
Each student will turn in a course binder that will include: the course blog postings; feminist blog post reflections;, and your analytical essay. This binder will account for 80% of your final grade; class participation (including the course blog) will account for the remaining 20%. The binder is due 5:00 PM Wednesday, December 15, 2015.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists (Anchor Books)
Mia Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, and Barbara Savage, Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (UNC Press) (TIHBW)
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (Warner Books)
Melissa Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America (Yale U P) (SC)
Tamara Winfrey Harris, The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.) (SAA)
Janet Mock, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More (Atria) (RR)
Tricia Rose, Longing to Tell: Black Women’s Stories of Sexuality and Intimacy (Picador) (Longing)
All other readings are available on Blackboard. I may provide a hard copy of these readings but in case I cannot, please bring a hard copy of these readings to class for our discussions.
|What is Black Feminist Thought? Thought or Theory? Feminist or Womanist?||LISTENING: “Ain’t Nothing But A She Thang”, Salt-N-Pepa; Beyoncé, “Flawless”; “Someone Else’s Eyes”, Aretha Franklin
READING: (BlackBoard: assignment sent ahead via e-mail) “Combahee River Collective”; Annette Henry, “A Wha’ Dem A Go On Wid?”; Jackie Kay, “So You Think I’m A Mule?”; Alice Walker, “Womanist”; Adrien Katherine Wing, “Introduction” (to Critical Race Feminism: A Reader, hereafter, CRF)
Presumed Incompetent (PI): Kupenda, “Facing Down…” 20-28
VIDEO: Crystal Valentine, “Black Privilege”
|Framing the Thought||READING:
Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists
Harris-Perry, SC, Introduction INCLUDING “The Hurricane”
BLACKBOARD: PI: Shields, “Waking Up…” 29-39
LISTENING: Dionne Farris, “Human”
VIDEO: “A Place of Rage”
TIHBW, Introduction, Part I: Frund; Part II: Bay, Field
Angelou, “And Still I Rise”;
CRF#4, Cleaver “Racism…; #7, Vandervelde and Subramanian, “Mrs. Dred Scott”
TIHBW, Part III: all; Part IV: Wall, Randolph; Part V: Jones
Reagon, “Coalition Politics…”; White, “Black Feminist Interventions”; Finney, “Red
IN CLASS: Brand, “Water More Than Flour” (handed out in class)
VIDEO: “And Still I Rise”
Harris-Perry, SC: “The Bridge Poem”—Chapter 4
BLACKBOARD CRF: #13, Post, “The Politics”; PI: Lugo-Lugo, “A Prostitute, A Servant,” 40-49
CRF #18, “Perry, “Transracial Adoption…”;
Woodson, “Motherhood, My Way”
Lindsley, “Bearing the Blame” from The Fire This Time
VIDEO: “Lackawanna Blues”
Harris-Perry, SC: “No Mirrors in My Nana’s House”—Chapter 7
CRF: #31, Caldwell, “A Hair Piece”
Janell Hobson, “The Batty Politic…”
VIDEO “Lockin’ Up”
BLACKBOARD: Hazel Carby, “It Jus Be’s Dat Way Sometime”; Alice Walker, “1955”; Angela Davis, “Mama’s Got the Blues” from Blues Legacies and Black Feminism
LISTENING: Big Mama Thornton, Mean Mothers
Rose, Longing, (Whole Book)
Mock, Redefining Realness (ALL)
BLACKBOARD: Birtha, “In the Life”
VIDEO: “Butch Mystique”
|November 20-November 29 ThanksGiving Break||No class||READING: Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower|
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
|Week 14: December 09||Black Feminist Legacy||READING:
Harris, The Sisters Are Alright
Discussion of final essays
Binders are due 5:00 PM Wednesday, December 15, 2015.
- Every week at the beginning of class on Wednesdays: submit 1-2 page reflection on a post from the feminist blog chosen from the options listed on page 2 of the syllabus.
- Every week at 12N on Fridays*: post reflections on the reading and class discussion to our course blog, Black Feminist Thoughts; see instructions and dates in Appendix A.
- Hard copies of all reflections and posts MUST be submitted in the final binder for the course.
- Final essay: 10 page MINIMUM. This is to be submitted as part of final binder. More details are on page 2 of the syllabus.
- Final, complete binders are due 5:00 PM Wednesday, December 15, 2015.
* Friday October 16 is part of fall break; your posting will be due at 9:00 AM MONDAY, October 19.
Black Feminist Thoughts Blog
Below are detailed instructions for how to get established on our course blog Black Feminist Thoughts. Once you are all set up PLEASE bookmark this site. You will be posting once a week so you will want to have easy access to the site.
We have a technical adviser for our blog. If you have any technical difficulties please send an email to our adviser AND be sure to copy me on all correspondence so I am aware of your issues.
Technical Adviser and Consultant:
Caitlin Pollock, MSLIS, MA (Digital Humanities)
She will be available via email Monday thru Friday. Emails received between 9am and 5pm will be responded to the same day.
- Inform me of the email address you wish to use for the blog. If you already have an account with wordpress.com and wish to have our blog affiliated with that or if you do NOT want to use your hamilton.edu address, PLEASE INFORM ME IMMEDIATELY OF THE ADDRESS YOU WISH TO USE. I will use this to add you to the blog.
- The URL for the blog is blackfeministthoughts.wordpress.com ; the username will be your email address or a username of your choice. As this blog is public-facing, make sure your username is something you would not be embarrassed by if Professor Haley or, say, a potential employer, were to see it.
- The purpose of the blog is for each student to reflect on the readings and class discussion/activities for each week of the semester. This is a space for your voice; please feel free to express yourself in any medium or language with which you are most comfortable: art, poetry, music or good old-fashioned prose, are all welcome. Haitian, Spanglish, Spanish, American English, British English, etc are also welcome.
- This blog is a reflection of our community of feminist scholars. While I do fervently desire that this blog be a safe space where raw emotion can be expressed, we all need to be respectful of one another and one another’s experiences. So be mindful that too many “f-words” can be overwhelming for others. Please be aware that this blog is public-facing and is discoverable. Your posts should be well-thought out and, if appropriate, correctly cited. If you embed media, such as sound recordings, video, or images, make sure they are appropriately cited with correct attribution whenever possible.
- You must post AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK—you may post more often but I will only assess the posts submitted by the due date. Again these should be reflections on the readings and class discussion/activities for each week of the semester. Because that is the case, I am asking you to post by the Friday (@12Noon) FOLLOWING OUR WEDNESDAY SEMINAR MEETING. I encourage you to post as soon after class as possible so you do not forget.
- The blog has the comments enabled and I encourage you to respectfully comment on your classmates’ posts to facilitate discussion.
- The blog accepts comments from all wordpress.com users, which means the audience is broader than just our class. Therefore, if you wish to post something personal or sensitive which you do NOT want the wider WordPress community to read or comment upon, please make your post password-protected. All password-protected posts will use the same password.
- Posting Dates:
|Week||Class Meeting||Post Due Date|
|1||W 9.02||FRIDAY 9.04**|
|2||W 9.09||FRIDAY 9.11|
|3||W 9.16||FRIDAY 9.18|
|4||W 9.23||FRIDAY 9.25|
|5||W 9.30||FRIDAY 10.02|
|6||W 10.07||FRIDAY 10.09|
|7||W 10.14||MONDAY 10.19***|
|8||W 10.21||FRIDAY 10.23|
|9||W 10.28||FRIDAY 10.30|
|10||W 11.04||FRIDAY 11.06|
|11||W 11.11||FRIDAY 11.13|
|12||W 11.18||FRIDAY 11.20|
|THANKSGIVING BREAK: FRIDAY 11.20 @ 4:00PM-SUNDAY 11.29|
|13||W 12.02||FRIDAY 12.04|
|14||W 12.09||FRIDAY 12.11|
** You must become established as a user on the blog AND post by this date. You will have had an assignment emailed to you ahead our first class.
*** NOTE THE CHANGE OF DUE DATE BECAUSE OF FALL BREAK!
5.Try to remember to make a hard copy of your blog post to put into your course binder. You MUST have copies of your postings in your binder.
6. Once again, if you have any technical difficulties, please contact our technical adviser/consultant:
Caitlin Pollock, MSLIS, MA (Digital Humanities)
(Please note well: Caitlin is NOT at Hamilton College!)
- HAVE FUN!