Visualizing the Black Feminist City | GWSS 590
T & Th 8:30-10:20 am
Prof. Kemi Adeyemi
This course examines the myriad affective attachments black women form in and to the city spaces they circulate through. In the racial imaginary of urban space, black people have historically been framed as a threatening presence that “needs” to be policed in, contained by, and, more often than not, completely excised from the landscape. But what other modes of attachment and affiliation do black people—and black women, in particular—form in and to the spaces they circulate through?
In this course we ultimately consider what politics emerge when we take mundane moments of black people walking, riding the bus, sitting outdoors, apartment-hunting, cycling, wandering, etc. seriously as radical, world-making endeavors. These moments complement the iconicity of black women’s urban lives as circumscribed by—and activated against—institutional neglect, antagonism, and violence. What alternative geographies are made available when we take black people seriously as creating and maintaining spaces of solitude as well as conviviality, as valuing stillness as well as movement, cultivating play alongside of work, sitting in quietude and walking in the protest march?
In pursuing these questions, this course puts texts concerning black feminism, affect theory, black geographies, and queer theory in conversation with film, performance, and art objects that consider black people simply being in the midst of their surroundings.