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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Spring 2004

AMS 390 • New Black Aesthetic

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
26310 TH
12:30 PM-3:30 PM
GAR 301

Course Description

In 1971, black literary scholar Addison Gayle edited a groundbreaking book called The Black Aesthetic. The book’s project was the logical offspring of the Civil Rights Era and the Black Arts Movement and attempts by black artists and critics to create and define the criteria to identify and critique “Black” art. In 1989 novelist Trey Ellis published a provocative and controversial article, “The New Black Aesthetic”. Published nearly a two decades after The Black Aesthetic, the essay served as a manifesto for the generation(s) of black writers, critics, musicians, visual artists, film-makers and intellectuals. At the core of Ellis’s thesis was a belief that the post-Civil Rights era created the conditions for black artists to more fully explore the dynamics of black identity without being constrained by previous social and cultural paradigms that helped circulate and institutionalize sanitized and truncated versions of black identity and culture. The NewBlack Aesthetic will examine the work and criticism of that first generation of NBAs (new black aestheticians) and subsequent revisions to Ellis’s thesis in the forms of the Post-Soul Aesthetic and what I refer to as NewBlackness; a concept with embodies a radical fluidity within “blackness” that crosses genders, sexualities, generations, religions, ethnicities and whatever attributes individual “black people” claim as being part of the blackness they possess


Caucasia by Danzy Senna Negrophobia: An Urban Parable by Darius James The Gilda Stories: A Novel by Jewelle Gomez Tuff by Paul Beatty Five Days of Bleeding, Ricardo Cortez Cruz Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic by Mark Anthony Neal The New H.N.I.C.: the Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip-hop by Todd Boyd Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity by Sharon Patricia Holland Yo Mama’s Disfunkional: Robin D.G. Kelley Everything But the Burden: What White People are Taking from Black Culture, ed. Greg Tate Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity, E. Patrick Johnson When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist, Joan Morgan


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