AFR 320 Spring 2015 Dangerous Bodies: Black Womanhood, Sexuality & Popular Culture

Cross Listed as AMST320, WGSS320
Whether presented as maternal saints, divas, video vixens, or bitches, black female celebrities navigate a tumultuous terrain in popular culture. This course considers the ways that black female celebrities such as Oprah, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, and Michelle Obama negotiate womanhood and sexuality, and the popular landscapes through which we witness that negotiation. It also engages contemporary black feminist scholarship, which most frequently presents the presentation of black female bodies in popular media forms as exploitive. We will review historical stereotypes of black women in popular media forms, discuss the history of the "politics of respectability" within black culture, engage black feminist responses to these types, and examine theoretical approaches to assess social constructions of womanhood and sexuality. We will also consider provocative questions relevant to discussions of contemporary black sexual politics: Should we view these women as feminists? Are they merely representatives of cultural commodification and control of black women's bodies? Do these women best exemplify the reiteration of problematic characterizations? Are they positive models for demonstrating female empowerment, agency, or "fierceness?" This course explores the histories of representation of black female figures in popular culture, and in so doing, troubles contemporary considerations of black womanhood and sexuality.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on attendance/participation, short response papers, and a midterm and final portfolio
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: WGSS majors and Africana Studies concentrators
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: AFR Core Electives,AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 3123
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
AFR 320 - 01 (S) SEM Dangerous Bodies Division 2: Social Studies Rhon S. Manigault-Bryant
MWF 08:30 AM-09:45 AM 3123 Open
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