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Edmund T. Gordon, Chair 2109 San Jacinto Blvd , Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4362

Xavier Livermon

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies

Contact

Biography

Xavier Livermon’s research exists at the intersection of popular culture, gender, and sexuality in post-apartheid South Africa and the African Diaspora. He is currently completing a manuscript tentatively entitled Its About Time: Kwaito and the Performance of Freedom that examines post-apartheid youth culture as a series of performances enacted to test the limits of post-apartheid possibility.  His second project, tentatively entitled Queer(y)ing Freedom: Construction Black Queer Belonging in South Africa has resulted in a number of published essays in GLQ; Gender, Place, and Culture; and Feminist Studies  and examines how black queer South Africans construct forms of cultural and national belonging in a climate where progressive constitutional rights do not always translate in quotidian practice. His research interests include African Cultural Studies, Black Popular Music, Black Performance, Black Queer Studies, HIV/AIDS and African Diaspora Studies.

AFR 317E • Intro To Women's & Gender Stds

30445 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A218A
(also listed as WGS 305 )
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This course explores the complex politics of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nation and other categories of power in relationship to systems of oppression and privilege in a transnational context. Focusing on the experiences of people of African descent, texts examined in this course will range from theoretical to first-person narratives. We will interrogate categories of sex, gender, and sexuality, and explore issues of identity, representation, socio-economic policy and political rights. We will examine African and Black feminist critiques of historical, institutionalized oppression, including poverty, poor working conditions, criminalization, reproductive and sexual control, gendered violence, stigma and stereotypes, homophobia, and xenophobia.  We will explore the relevance of changing understandings of the term "culture" for the study of women, gender, and/or sexuality across Africa and the African Diaspora. Particular attention will be devoted to the ways in which gender as practice, performance, and representation has differed for women and men according to race, class, and other divisions.   Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field committed to imagining justice through analysis and creation of culture. Part of our work will reveal how African and African Diaspora Feminisms have challenged racism and white supremacy within feminist scholarship and activism. Your work in this course will prepare you for advanced study and to participate in discussions for community and academic advocacy.

AFR 317F • Hip Hop Politics

30455 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 301
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Description:

 

In this course students will examine the rise of rap music and hip-hop culture from its beginning among Black and Brown youth in post-industrial New York to its growth into a global multi billion dollar industry.  We will examine the “politics” of rap music and hip-hop cultures investigating issues of commodification (commercialization, authenticity, “selling out”, consumerism, “keeping it real”), identity (race, nation, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, region), and social change (the use of hip-hop in social movements).  We will also examine the global dimensions of hip –hop culture with reference to its rise and spread in diverse international settings. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical lens for examining one of the most vibrant expressions of youth popular culture to emerge in the contemporary period.

 

Texts:

That’s The Joint!: The Hip Hop Studies Reader by Mark Anthony Neal and Murray Foreman.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang and DJ Kool Herc.

The Hip-Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip-Hop and Why it Matters by Tricia Rose.

It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip Hop Generation by Molefi K. Asante Jr.

The Hip Hop Generation Fights Back: Youth, Activism and Post-Civil Rights Politics by Andreana Clay.

AFR 372G • African Queer Studies

30705 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 306
(also listed as WGS 340 )
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This course explores queer gender and sexuality in Africa, with a particular focus on theoretical issues, the colonial encounter, citizenship and activism, media representations.  In the first unit, we will examine some of the theoretical issues that are relevant to studying queer gender and sexuality in Africa and in the African Diaspora more broadly.  In the second unit, we will explore some of the literature on the impact of colonialism on queer African identities and practices, and we will pay particular attention to its lasting impact on queer African lives in our post-colonial moment.  In the third unit, we will read several ethnographic and literary texts on specific communities in order to expand our understanding of the diverse ways in which queer Africans create identities, experience desire, and redefine dominant notions of citizenship. In the final unit of the course, we will examine representations of queer African sexuality in literature, film, and media, focusing especially on representations in relation to recent events in South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, and Senegal. We will pay particular attention to how such representations are shaped by political economy and influenced by the international community.

 

Texts (needs to be specific texts, not “course packet” or “TBA)”:

 

Queer African Reader Sokari Ekine and Hakima Abbas eds.

African Sexualities: A Reader Sylvia Tamale ed.

Heterosexual Africa?: The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS Marc Epprecht

OUT in Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa Ashley Currier

Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City Rudolf P. Gaudio

Black Bull, Ancestors, and Me: My Life as a Lesbian Sangoma Nkunzi Zandile Nkabinde

AFR 372G • Contemp African Pop Culture

30710 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 105
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The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the most significant aspects of popular culture in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Manifestations of popular culture are considered as markers of modern African identities, embedded in complex and varied socio-cultural, historical and political contexts. Within the current era of global, diasporic, and transnational flows, it is neither sufficient any longer to view Africa solely from the perspective of political economies, nor to discuss contemporary African culture within the tradition-versus-modernity debate. Manifestations of popular culture in Africa show that the continent is part and parcel of the postmodern world, with cultural production simultaneously influenced by global trends and specific African contexts. The course will cover various forms of cultural expression and genres, including popular film, music, literature, dance, comics and cartoons, fashion, sport, street art, theatre, and contemporary visual arts. Attention will be paid to the production modes, audiences and sites of consumption of these different genres and aspects of popular culture. Course instruction will include extensive film and clip viewings, analysis of music, and reading fictional texts such as popular novels and comics.

 

 

 

 

 

Texts (needs to be specific texts, not “course packet” or “TBA)”:

 

Marguerite Abouet Aya: Life in Yop City.

Nadine Dolby: Constructing Race: Youth, Identity and Popular Culture in South Africa.

Manthia Diawara In Search of Africa.

Sokari Ekine ed. SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa.

Relebohile Moletsane, Claudia Mitchell, and Ann Smith eds. Was it Something I Wore? Dress, Identity, Materialitiy.

Mwenda Ntarangwi East African Hip-Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization.

Simon Weller and Garth Walker South African Township Barbershops and Salons.

Grading breakdown (percentages):

Attendance and Participation 20%

Response Papers 20%

Midterm 20%

Final 40%

 

AFR 317E • Intro To Women's & Gender Stds

30297 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SZB 330
(also listed as WGS 305 )
show description

This course explores the complex politics of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nation and other categories of power in relationship to systems of oppression and privilege in a transnational context. Focusing on the experiences of people of African descent, texts examined in this course will range from theoretical to first-person narratives. We will interrogate categories of sex, gender, and sexuality, and explore issues of identity, representation, socio-economic policy and political rights. We will examine African and Black feminist critiques of historical, institutionalized oppression, including poverty, poor working conditions, criminalization, reproductive and sexual control, gendered violence, stigma and stereotypes, homophobia, and xenophobia.  We will explore the relevance of changing understandings of the term "culture" for the study of women, gender, and/or sexuality across Africa and the African Diaspora. Particular attention will be devoted to the ways in which gender as practice, performance, and representation has differed for women and men according to race, class, and other divisions.   Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field committed to imagining justice through analysis and creation of culture. Part of our work will reveal how African and African Diaspora Feminisms have challenged racism and white supremacy within feminist scholarship and activism. Your work in this course will prepare you for advanced study and to participate in discussions for community and academic advocacy.

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