AFR 465 Spring 2015 Race and Abstraction

Cross Listed as AMST465, ENGL326, COMP465
Minority artists--writers and visual artists mainly and, to a lesser degree, musicians--face a difficult "double bind" when creating works of art: the expectation is that they, like their racially marked bodies, will exhibit their difference by means of concrete signifiers (details, tropes, narratives, themes) of racial difference. Thus, the work is judged primarily in terms of its embodied sociological content (material, empirical) and not by "abstract" standards of aesthetic subtlety, philosophical sophistication, and so on. At the same time, in the popular and academic imaginary, minority subjects and artists poets occupy a single abstract signifying category--homogeneous, undifferentiated, "other," marginalized, non-universal--while racially "unmarked" (white) artists occupy the position of being universal and individual at once. The irony, of course, is that, say, an African American poet's being read as an abstract signifier does not mean that the black subject or writer is seen as capable of engaging in abstract ideas. This course will ask questions about the problem of race and abstraction by looking at the work of various African American and Asian American writers, visual artists and musicians--including Will Alexander, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, David Hammons, Yayoi Kusama, Tan Lin, Nathaniel Mackey, and Cecil Taylor--as well as critics. We will pay particular attention to formally experimental works. This course will ask questions about the problem of race and abstraction by looking at the work of various African American and Asian American writers, visual artists and musicians--including Will Alexander, John Keene, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, John Yau, Cecil Taylor, David Hammons, and Yoko Ono--as well as critics. We will pay particular attention to formally experimental works.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: two papers (one 6-8 pages and the other 10-12 pages), in-class presentation, brief response papers, and class participation
Additional Info:
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none if registering under AMST, AFR, or COMP, though a previous lit, art or music class would be helpful; if registering under ENGL, 100-level ENGL course, or 5 on AP English Lit exam or 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam required
Enrollment Preference:
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL or COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR or AMST
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives,AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora,AMST 400-level Senior Seminars
Enrollment Limit: 13
Expected Enrollment: 13
Class Number: 3052
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
AFR 465 - 01 (S) SEM Race and Abstraction Division 2: Social Studies Dorothy J. Wang
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM 3052 Open
Course Search
Term:
Subject:
Catalog Number:
Division:
Distribution:
Subject Attributes:
Enrollment Limit:
Course Type:
Start Time: End Time:
Day(s):
Instructor First Name:
Instructor Last Name:
Keyword Search: