We have reached the end of 2015! We take a break now at this website and will return with its new iteration in August 2016 when there will be more music, more video, more image, more multimedia…mo betta! Mo betta! In the meantime, for the students officially part of this course and for those in it virtually from lands more distant, I leave you with words from THEESatisfaction (at the left) who, depending on the device you are using right now, is playing in the background (click here for video): “turn off the swag and check your vain . . . you’d better bring yourself, you’d better bring yourself!”
More about this Website
This website was created in 2013 as part of a college course that I designed called “African American Women’s Rhetorics.” That course offered an introductory examination into black women’s discourses across essays, speeches, letters, art, dance, scholarship, song, and theory. I hoped that this digital space— sitting outside of the empire-based conceptions of learning and knowing that today’s corporate universities often manifest— would allow for a more dynamic and interactive, embodied experience with black women’s discourses. To put it most simply, it was just impossible to create another syllabus using paper in an age where meaning is made through multimedia. And since I have chosen to forego a university’s digital interface, we are here. We are not off the grid, but we have chosen our own grid. That 2013 course and the classes in its wake today— courses and experiences related to gender studies from my own unique vantage point as a Black Feminist— will all be located here at this space. Welcome!
August 2015 witnessed this site moving more explicitly into general gender studies courses. Rooted in a program firmly dedicated to interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches to analyses of gender, I am using: 1) women of color feminisms, 2) queer theory— particularly queer of color critique, 3) masculinities studies, 4) trans studies, and 5) Hip Hop Feminism as lens and location for a critical foundation for DOING gender (as opposed to merely theorizing gender studies). These lenses and locations offer the most compelling sites for understanding contemporary structural oppression, challenges to and definitions of feminist theory, and new openings for rethinking gender and social control. Though there is no assumption that we will end this class with a complete or exhaustive study of gender, these lenses and locations lead us straight into what a Black Feminist Rhetorician would consider the most compelling ideas to take up for the 21st century: the body and its performances, pleasures, desires, and policing; radical subjectivities within lived experiences of oppression and resistance; white social rules under language and power; immigration, imperialism, diaspora, and agency in the culture of neoliberalism. Throughout fall 2015, the 5 lenses and locations listed above were built into the website.
The curriculum of the gender studies courses collected at this website asks students to locate themselves along multiple intersectional axes and claim who they are and the world they are building. Doing that work from within my own standpoint as Black Feminist Rhetorician offers some integrity to that request… which this website makes at least one kind of attempt at mirroring. To riff off Chayna Ashley, it’s time to “Think B.I.G.”The course soundtrack for 2015— always in rotation (playing in background) draws from C. Ash, Janelle Monae, and TheeSatisfaction.