ENGL448C Literature, Visual Culture and Art by Women of Color
This course will use the 70s and 80s in the US, UK, and countries in South Asia and Africa as our point of departure to begin to take stock of the long and complex history as well as the significance and value of literary and cultural texts authored and created by black and women of color.
In 1981, the ground breaking feminist anthology, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, now in its 4th edition, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa was published by Persephone Press. A few years earlier, in 1977, The Combahee River Collective statement was written in Boston by Afrocentric black lesbian feminists who parted ways from the NBFO (National Black Feminist Organization). These women were “actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression” (from the SRC website). In 1983, Barbara Smith edited a collection of 32 essays, titled, Home Girls: A Black feminist Anthology in which she states that "Black feminism is, on every level, organic to Black experience." In 1984, the British journal Feminist Review published the ground breaking essay, “Imperial Feminisms,” co-authored by Valerie Amos and Pratibha Parmar. In 1979, Nigerian writer Buchi Emecheta’s published her first novel, Joys of Motherhood, which shows the effects of polygamy on women in a society fundamentally altered by colonialism. Still earlier, in 1971, Indian novelist, Nayantara Sahgal published The Day in Shadow, a novel that captured the brutal effects of divorce in a society in which marriage is central to a woman’s identity.
We will use the 70s and 80s in the US, UK, and countries in South Asia and Africa as our point of departure to begin to take stock of the long and complex history as well as the significance and value of literary and cultural texts authored and created by black and women of color. We will read, watch and analyze a wide range of contemporary literary texts, films (short, long and documentary), other media (photographs, social media) and key critical essays. We will end the class by focusing on BLM and read the introduction to the memoir written by one of the three black woman founders, Patrisse Cullors as well as the foreword by leading black activist, Angela Davis.
Since this is an Advanced Writing Class we will pay close attention to writing by working together to craft essays that enable us to write about different media by paying close attention to questions of form and mediation alongside representations of class, gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality and religion.
0101 - Sangeeta Ray