Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Fall Syllabus #1: Afrofuturism!

with 2 comments

By luck, I’m able to teach the Africana literatures class this semester — a class I’ve always wanted to do but would be four or five back in the priority list in a normal semester. The theme (of course) is “Afrofuturism,” and spends about a third of its time in America, about a third of its time in America thinking about Africa, and about a third of its time in Africa. I’m excited! Here’s the description and schedule; full syllabus with policies and assignments here…

Greg Tate has said that “Black people live the estrangement that science fiction writers imagine.” This course takes up the nexus of intersections between black history and the radical black imagination that is commonly called Afrofuturism, focusing in particular of figurations of Africa as a space of science fictional possibility from both sides of the Atlantic. If Afrofuturism has been, as Kodwo Eshun has said, “a program for recovering the histories of counter-futures created in a century hostile to Afrodiasporic projection,” how does the rise of Africa as a global economic powerhouse in the twenty-first-century transform our understanding of black futurity? 2018’s smash hit Black Panther is only the most vivid registration of the ongoing global importance of the Afrofuturist imagination; from comics to film and television to literature to music videos to social media we will trace Afrofuturism across the twenty-first century cultural landscape.

T Aug 28 FIRST DAY OF CLASS
What Is Afrofuturism?
film (in class): Sun Ra, Space Is the Place (1974) (excerpts)
Th Aug 30 Mark Bould, “The Ships Landed Long Ago” [D2L]
film (in class): John Akomfrah, The Last Angel of History(1996)
T Sep 4 Sable Elyse Smith, “Ordinary Violence” [museum]
MEET AT THE HAGGERTY        
Th Sep 6 film (in-class): Get Out(2017)
T Sep 11 film: Jordan Peele, Get Out (2017) (discussion)
Th Sep 13 Get Out (2017)(discussion continues)
Steven Thrasher, Get Out thinkpiece #1 [Web]
Aisha Harris, Get Out thinkpiece #2 [Web]
T Sep 18 Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer (2018) (viewing and initial thoughts)
Th Sep 20 Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer (2018) (extended discussion)
Aja Romano, “Janelle Monáe’s body of work is a masterpiece of modern science fiction” [Web]
Brittany Spanos, “Janelle Monáe Frees Herself” [Web]
Christopher Lebron, “Janelle Monáe for President” [Web]
T Sep 25 film: Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (2018) (discussion)
Th Sep 27 Black Panther (2018) (discussion continues)
Gerry Canavan, “The Limits of Black Panther’sAfrofuturism” [Web]
FIRST PAPER MINI-WORKSHOP
T Oct 2 Ta-Nehisi Coates, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, vol. 1
Evan Narcisse, “Ta-Nehisi Coates Explains How He’s Turning Black Panther into a Superhero Again” [web]
Th Oct 4 Ta-Nehisi Coates, Black Panther, A Nation Under Our Feet, vol. 2
FIRST PAPER DUE
T Oct 9 Ta-Nehisi Coates, Black Panther, A Nation Under Our Feet, vol. 3
Kodwo Eshun, “Further Considerations on Afrofuturism” [D2L]
Th Oct 11 Octavia E. Butler, Wild Seed, Book I (“Covenant, 1690”)
T Oct 16 Octavia E. Butler, Wild Seed, Book II (“Lot’s Children, 1741”)
Th Oct 18 FALL BREAK—NO CLASS
T Oct 23 Octavia E. Butler, Wild Seed, Book III (“Canaan, 1840”)
Th Oct 25 film: Wanuri Kahiu, “Pumzi” (2009) (in-class viewing and discussion)
SECOND PAPER MINI-WORKSHOP
T Oct 30 film (in class): District 9 (2009)
Th Nov 1 film: Neill Blomkamp, District 9 (2009) (in-class viewing continues and discussion)
SECOND PAPER DUE
T Nov 6 District 9 (2009) discussion continues
District 10 (forthcoming eventually?) discussion
Octavia E. Butler, “The Monophobic Response” [D2L]
Th Nov 8 Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (Act I, first half)
T Nov 13 Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (Act I, second half)
Th Nov 15 Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (Act II)
T Nov 20 Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (Act III)
Th Nov 22 THANKSGIVING BREAK—NO CLASS
T Nov 27 Abdourahman Waberi, In the United States of Africa (part one)
Th Nov 29 Abdourahman Waberi, In the United States of Africa (whole book)
FINAL PROJECTS/PAPERS MINI-WORKSHOP
T Dec 4 Film: Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You(2018)
Chip Gibbons, “In the World of Film, We’ve Edited Out All Rebellion: An Interview with Boots Riley” [Web]
LAST DAY OF CLASS
Th Dec 6 CLASS CANCELLED DUE TO INSTRUCTOR TRAVEL
F Dec 14 FINAL PAPERS/PROJECTS DUE BY 5:30 PM VIA D2L DROPBOX

 

 

2 Responses

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  1. aaaahhh it looks so good!

    cathexisfornightly

    August 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm


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