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Intertextual Aesthetics in African American Culture: From Signifyin(g) to Sampling
AFAM 276
Spring 2019
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: ENGL 289

Intertextuality, the integration of references to multiple texts into a single artistic work, has long been considered a hallmark of postmodern aesthetics. This course will begin from the premise that this intertextual approach was a foundational aesthetic technique for African American cultural producers long before any discourse around postmodernism entered the lexicon. From David Walker¿s "sampling" of the Declaration of Independence in making his 1830 anti-slavery Appeal, to Kara Walker¿s incorporations of imageries and artistic techniques of the antebellum South to comment on contemporary realities of blackness, African American artists have long made use of intertextual aesthetics not merely in the service of postmodern indirection, but in order to represent the realities of black lived experience in America. This course will investigate the transmedial history of this intertextual black aesthetic, examining African American literature, music, film, and visual art, and will consider various ways in which black intertextual aesthetics have been theorized, from Henry Louis Gates' notion of "signifyin(g)," to discussions of hip hop sampling and Black Twitter. As mass-mediated technologies have proliferated in the 20th and 21st centuries and representations of "Blackness" writ large have exponentially multiplied in the popular imagery, contemporary artists increasingly sample and signify on these representations themselves. So a significant piece of our work in the course will be in analyzing the ways that the intertextual aesthetic is mobilized in the contemporary moment to speak to material realities of postmodern blackness, and to articulate nuanced black subjectivities in the face of subjection.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA AFAM
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)(ENGL-Literature)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUL-15-2024
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