Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

The Struggle Continues


Dear Faithful Reader,

This blog has been woefully inactive for two years, basically following the regularity with which I’m able to teach the accompanying course, Black Women Writers. The course is again being offered this spring (yay!), so expect a return to form on this blog. Each week, Southwestern University students will be writing about a range of topics related to our course themes, readings, and class discussions. The course has been redesigned a bit, so this semester we’re reading BelovedThe Color PurpleAmericanahSilver SparrowSalvage the Bones, and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. We’ll also be watching A Place of Rage and Daughters of the Dust, and reading a fair amount of black feminist theory. Feel free to join in the discussion and send us your comments.

Yesterday in class, we read Ann Ducille’s “The Occult of True Black Womanhood” and had an interesting conversation about black women as fetishized and commodified subjects, and I presented Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” as an example of a text that is both complicit with and critical of such practices. I’ll leave you with this to decide what you think:

Is Minaj giving us what she thinks we want? Challenging us? Turning our gaze back on us? Some great analysis here on Ebony (“Nicki Minah’s Butt Is Not Your Daughter’s Problem”) and here on Autostraddle (“Nicki Minaj’s Feminism Isn’t About Your Comfort Zone”), if you’re interested.


Your Editrix.


Author: Carina Hoffpauir

I am an assistant professor of English at Southwestern University specializing in African American literature and culture.

2 thoughts on “The Struggle Continues

  1. I am so glad this blog is back and thriving! It’s not quite as good as having you as an office hall neighbor, but it’s still a treat to listen in on your class’s conversations. The selection of texts seems fascinating, and I’m interested to hear how the restructuring goes, as well as how the students respond to Salvage the Bones, which my intro-level students did quite well with last semester. I wish I had a better system for reading blogs (I miss the prevalence of RSS feed readers from back in the day) so that I could do a better job keeping up.

    • Why aren’t you down the hall from me, WHY? Okay, tantrum aside, I’d really like to know how you presented Salvage the Bones. It’s my first time teaching it, and I’m trying to figure out how much background and additional context we need. I’ve assigned a couple of pieces that present feminist responses to the storm and ensuing aftermath, but I’d love to know more about how you did it.

      Oh, and cool tool I just learned about: . Basically, you enter any news, feed, or blog address, and blogtrottr will send you an email of the new content when the site updates. You can choose the frequency, which is nice. I’m using it to read UPenn CFP lists, and it’s really helped me keep abreast of new posts. I also use Feedly, which is a pretty decent RSS feed reader, but not as good as my beloved Google Reader.

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