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ENGL628A: Readings in African American Literature Memory and Materiality: Black Women’s Archives

This is a class about scholarly research, archival expression, and generative interpretive practice, as refracted through the work of artists and scholars who identify as Black women in the Americas, and who are intentionally engaged in various kinds of memory work.

By focusing on each woman's research process— both through the research archives they have built for their own work, and also the manuscript archives developed by their readers— we will think about the close relationship between research, experience, and what Dr. Saidiya Hartman refers to as "critical fabulation." Writers featured this semester will likely include Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler, Edwidge Danticat, Toni Cade Bambara, and Marlene Nourbese-Philip.

To facilitate our own grounding in this inquiry, we will also learn to prototype a variety of digital and experimental approaches to presenting and narrativizing original scholarly research, deriving design notes from the work of numerous Black feminist and queer initiatives invested in the archival documentation of life in the present, for instance the Black Futures project. We will also spend time exploring various genres of archival articulation, for instance the intellectual work of finding aids and other nodes of engagement. This class will be equally accessible to students with or without prior experience in digital or experimental project development.


Dr. Marisa Parham
W 3:30pm - 6:00pm

Schedule of Classes
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