AAST 490: Topics in African American Literature

close-up photo of Fred Moten

This course is an overview of African American Cultural Studies and aims to provide a critical examination of the principal theoretical currents animating contemporary African American cultural studies. The development of contemporary cultural studies will be traced by looking at texts by Hortense Spillers, Paul Gilroy, Fred Moten, Nahum Chandler, Alex Weheliye, and Frank Wilderson, amongst others. There will also be focus on performance and the afterlife of the Haitian Revolution, which will include examinations of the role of “monstrous intimacies” in the making of post-Reconstruction African American subjectivity and the relation of black culture and the police power after slavery. Both components will help the class ascertain how these theoretical texts have contributed to the rethinking of black culture witnessed in these studies. Past topics include: “From Black Studies to African American Studies and Back Again” and “Lynching: Histories and Representation.”