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CS92PROD
Imagining Difference: Social Science & Black Life

CHUM 354
Spring 2023
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AFAM 354, FGSS 354, SOC 318
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate, Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

This class has two interrelated areas of focus: first, the racist habits of imag(in)ing Blackness's presumed racial-sexual difference that preoccupied social science in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and second, the formative role that social scientific research and methods played in Black people's quests for institutional inclusion in racial slavery's afterlife. Focusing particularly on the careers of Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Zora Neale Hurston, we will explore the often contradictory relationship between Blackness and institutional power that is discernible in empiricism's primacy during the long era of postbellum Black inclusion. Rather than seeking evidence of Black artists' and intellectuals' departure from empiricism and its attendant violences, we will explore the messiness of their efforts to experiment with and imagine beyond their misrepresentation and erasure in dominant empirical discourses. Indeed, Black artists and intellectuals sometimes recapitulated the violence of empiricist paradigms and their enabling truth claims despite their sound political intentions--particularly in their imaginings of Black women and queers. In considering the nexus of social science and Black life in this period, we will also consider the intramural politics of racialized gender, the myriad costs of institutional incorporation, and the stubborn durability of epistemological authority. Secondary texts include works by Hazel Carby, Émile Durkheim, Jacqueline Goldsby, Saidiya Hartman, Katherine McKittrick, Brit Rusert, Autumn Womack, Alexander Weheliye, and others.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on MAR-01-2024
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