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Unit information: Black Humanities II in 2020/21

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Unit name Black Humanities II
Unit code MODLM0044
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Albertine Fox
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Based on cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and contemporary practice, this unit offers students foundational tools for learning about the intellectual and artistic production of people of African descent around the world. The unit is structured through our focus on three locations and the connections between them: Africa, Caribbean and the Americas, Black Britain. In connection to their reading, students will meet with arts practitioners and activists in order to reflect on their learning and consider how the arts and humanities can generate changes and forms of solidarity in today’s society. Topics to be discussed include: anti-colonial and decolonial thought, migration, mobility, diaspora, memory and language. The unit will introduce students to key texts as well as to influential methodological approaches across the disciplines (literature, history, philosophy, art history, film, music).

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Identify and analyse key ideas in the study of the intellectual and artistic production of people of African descent, including decolonial thought, migration and mobility, diaspora.

2. Reflect on the connections between theory and practice.

3. Discuss and evaluate the debates that surround different and varied notions of blackness within the arts and humanities.

4. Work with primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate/demonstrate specific and more general points.

5. Present research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to M Level.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered online through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Information

Portfolio (100% UAM)

Reading and References

Akala, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire (London: Two Roads, 2018)

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (Heinemann African Writers Series, 1958)

Amiri Baraka [LeRoi Jones] Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963)

Jay Bernard. Surge (London: Chatto & Windus, 2018)

Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994)

Angela Davis. Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. (Vintage Books, 1999).

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race (London: Bloomsbury, 2018)

Frantz Fanon. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox (1961; translation: New York: Grove Press, 2004)

Henry Louis Gates Jr. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African American Literary Criticism. Oxford University Press, 1988.

Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (London: Verso, 1993)

Edouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing (1990; translation: University of Michigan Press, 1997)

Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (Allen Lane, 2019)

Stuart Hall, Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 1996).

Afua Hirsch, Brit('ish'): On Race, Identity and Belonging. (London: Vintage, 2018)

Tsitsi Jaji, Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music and Pan-African Solidarity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Epistemic Freedom in Africa. Deprovincialization and Decolonization (London: Routledge, 2018)

Felwine Sarr. Afrotopia. University of Minnesota Press, 2020.

Tricia Rose, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Wesleyan University Press, 1994.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonizing the Mind: 'the' Politics of Language in African Literature (Heinemann Educational, 1986)