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.

Leave a comment

Free Angela

ImageFYI (I love posting FYIs, if you can’t tell)– there’s a new documentary about Angela Davis that’s scheduled for limited release next weekend.  Unfortunately, Austin isn’t on the list, but I’m hoping it will make its way in our direction. Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners is directed by Shola Lynch (and produced by Will Smith and Jay-Z), and it covers Davis’s 1970 arrest on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy.  It includes interviews with Davis, and tons of other great archival footage. Shola Lynch has said this about her project (via Okayplayer)

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is a documentary movie that asks how a bookish 26-year-old philosophy professor ends up on the FBI’s Most Wanted List and an international political icon in the early 1970s. The story is a political crime drama with a love story in the middle and many questions that can’t be answered.”

Here’s the trailer:

I also strongly recommend The Black Power Mixtape, another fantastic documentary about this period (if you have Netflix, it’s available streaming).