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Vitalism and Black Aesthetics

ENGL 312
Spring 2023
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AFAM 311
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

What is the relationship between Black art and Black life? Does Black art, broadly construed, serve a mimetic function-merely re-presenting reality-or is it a vital expression of the essence of Blackness? These questions are at the root of Black Cultural Studies' engagements with the problem of the aesthetic. In the current conjuncture, reacting to the theorization of Black social death, many theorists have (re)turned to the aesthetic as "proof" of the mattering of Black life and "evidence" of a vibrant sociality. This course will consider the connection between (the theorization of) Black aesthetics and (the affirmation of) Black life. In so doing, we will question the political stakes of Black aesthetics, as well as the value placed upon the concept of life as such, in and through the aesthetic encounter. Additionally, we will explore ways of thinking of the aesthetic that challenge presumptions of its innate liveliness. Readings will include canonical texts in aesthetic theory and vitalist philosophy, as well as more contemporary engagements with these questions from the perspective of Black performance theory, literary theory, and Afro-pessimism.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AFAM-MN)(AFAM)(CSCT)(ENGL)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUN-21-2024
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