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Black Texts, Lost and Found
CHUM 336
Spring 2021
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: ENGL 357, AFAM 336

This course examines histories of loss and recovery of black texts in the US and the Atlantic world more broadly. We will bring a three-pronged approach to our subject matter. We will analyze first the constitutive silences of the archive: epistemic and material neglect, or what Michel Trouillot has termed the "silencing of the past"; second, the preservation efforts of black newspaper editors, librarians, and bibliophiles; and third, the "counter-archiving" work of Afro-diasporic historical and speculative fiction. As we traverse different periods and empires we will consider what the concepts of the "black archive" and "black ephemera" mean to different disciplines. We will study the repressions of black Arabic writing practices in the US South and our fragmentary recovery of them in the late 20th century, unfinished novels about Black Atlantic revolutions such as Martin Delany's "Blake," incomplete runs of historic black newspapers, debates about the illusions and desires of "recovery," and the criteria that determine what counts as ephemeral and when.

We will move across different media, from print--"I, Tituba," "M Archive," "Blake," "(Dis)forming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular"--to films--"The Watermelon Woman," "Looking for Langston," "The Last Angel of History"--and from digitized databases of photographs at the ongoing archiving project The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles to digitized newspaper archives.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(ENGL)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUN-23-2024
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