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Topics in American Literature: Race, Repertoire, Archive

Black feminist scholar Jennifer L. Morgan has explained that "the archive carries “the force of law,” and through the conservation of documents and evidence it is situated at the intersection where change and stasis meet—it is both “revolutionary and traditional." In this course, we will tarry a while at the juncture of change and stasis. We will attempt to mine the relationship between Black Studies, Black literary criticism, and the archive. We will take for granted that the history of the Black diaspora is written corporally and textually. How, then, do archival theories and practices supplement interdisciplinary modes of knowing and reading or illuminate issues like embodiment, performance, and representation? How have Black writers and theorists mined the archives, and what might we learn from them? To answer these questions, we will turn to the work of Michel-Rolph Troulliot, M. NourbeSe Philip, Saidyah Hartman, Robert Reid-Pharr, C. Riley Snorton, and others. We will speak to archivists and theorists whose work is informed by Black archival practices. Course requirements include one class presentation/performance: 20%; one book review: 20%; one final essay 40%. The final grade you receive for the course will be derived by converting your numerical course grade to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.  

Department of English, Queen's University

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Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.