Thursday 9:30-12:20 PM
With the New York Times’s recent publication of Nikole Hannah-Jones’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning 1619 Project (a series of essays by journalists, historians, and creative writers seeking to center the issues of slavery and anti-Blackness in USAmerican history) and the white backlash against its “revisionist” framing, questions about how we remember, memorialize, and narrate history are as important as ever. In this course, we’ll be examining both archives of African American literary history and Black Studies approaches to the problems that archives present for researching that history. Where and how does one encounter Black subjects in the archive? How have researchers grappled with fragmented texts, incomplete holdings, and missing manuscripts; or the ways that anti-Blackness structures archives? How have they read for what is often not there, and how have poets, novelists, and essayists endeavored what Saidiya Hartman calls “critical fabulation” to wrestle with these same issues? How should the ethics of Black Studies shape our methodologies and the ways we engage the archive? Weekly writing assignments will often involve primary research in digital repositories of Black writing and final projects can take a variety of forms, including (but not limited to) seminar papers (20pp), archivally-intensive conference papers (10pp), teaching guides for archival materials, digital/multimodal projects, lesson plans, and creative works. Readings may include Phillis Wheatley, William Still, Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, Tiana Clark, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Saidiya Hartman, Christina Sharpe, Erna Brodber, M. Nourbese Philip, Toni Morrison, and Zora Neale Hurston.
ENGL 7179: Black Archives