ANT 391 • Genealog of Black/Gay/Trans/ Bi: (Genealogies of Black Queer Studies: Erotics/Politics/Poetics)
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
This course will chart some of the contours of what we might, provisionally, call Black Queer Studies, using a genealogical methodology. The point of a genealogical analysis is to show that a given system of thought emerges from a complex [of] contingent turns of history, that, following Marx, humans both make and do not make. Our exploration will require close reading of a cross-section of the artistic, intellectual and political production of Black [and otherwise African descended] persons, movement[s], representations and subject positions, primarily in the US-- [self]described variously as, for example: transgender, lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, homosexual, tortillera, maricón, matí, entendido, DL, MSM, aggressive/stud, Adodi, wymyn identified wymyn, same gender loving, transsexual. This non-exhaustive array provides some indication of the complexity of this endeavor. First, owing to the relative newness of recognition of Black queer culture and production; we will re-read some of the key texts and concepts of the three major nodes of Black Queer Studies: The Harlem Renaissance; Civil Rights and Black Power Movements; and The Reagan-Thatcher Era. With this as prelude, the course will move on to engage new and emerging Black queer cultural production. Each students will submit a short [1-2 pp] reaction statement/memo each week. We will rotate colloquy leader responsibilities, and engage short comments by the professor. Students will choose, with the consultation of the professor, a topic for further development in the form of a closely annotated bibliography [filmography, etc.] or a good draft of a potentially publishable paper. We will keep these provocations in mind: " What specific [theoretical, epistemological, ethical, political, e.g.] contributions does Black Queer Studies make to ['supplement'] Black Studies, Gender Studies, Queer Studies, Sexuality Studies, as well as more traditional discplinges [and vice versa]? " What theories or theoretical provocations might we follow from Queer theory, Sexuality and Gender Studies, and mainstream African-American or African diaspora Studies? What are the pitfalls to avoid? " What specific corrections and contributions do Black feminist scholarship and theorization make to each of the allied fields above? How might Black Queer work both reflect these and go beyond Black feminist scholarship and theorization? " Whither gender? What scholarly and/or political differences might a more signifcant inclusion of work by and about transgender and other"gender non-conformists" make to the emerging Black queer canon? What about on-the-ground? " Whither the erotic? [How] does embodied sexual and sensual expression and desire condition political futures? " What insights might we glean from lived experience and scholarship beyond the US, and beyond urban representations/experiences?