center for women and gender studies
logo for center for women and gender studies

Omise'eke Tinsley


Associate FacultyPh.D., 2003, Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley

Associate Director, CWGS and Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Contact

Courses


WGS 301 • Race/Gender/Education At Ut

46773 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 208
(also listed as AFR 317D)

Description:

While the struggles of black and Latino men in higher education have gained much-needed visibility in the last decade, the challenges faced by women of color in university settings continue even as they are increasingly invisibilized. This course opens inquiry about the resources and skills that women of color need to succeed in higher education in general, and at the University of Texas in particular. Through interdisciplinary readings, we will explore avenues for women of color to bolster their academic, social, physical, emotional, and sexual wellbeing while pursuing advanced degrees.

  

 Readings:

  • Nnedi Okafor, Binti
  • Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia
  • Theodora Regina Berry, From Oppression to Grace: Women of Color and Their Dilemmas in the Academy
  • Esmeralda Santiago, Almost a Woman

  

Grading:

3 papers, 20%/each

Class participation, 40%

WGS 393 • Postcolonial Femnsm/Wrk Img

47145 • Fall 2016
Meets TH 1:00PM-4:00PM GWB 1.130
(also listed as AFR 388)

Description:

“Calling for a black feminist criticism is to do nothing less than to imagine another system of value, one in which black women have value.”

            --Grace Hong

 

Recent postcolonial feminist criticism, including the beautiful new writing of M. Jacqui Alexander and Saidiya Hartman, argues persuasively that to tell meaningful stories of black and brown womanhood—and particularly of women of color’s sexuality—traditional scholarship, and particularly academic work which relies on the archive, can never suffice. While archives may be a point of departure, they posit, scholars must turn to creative methodologies to intuit and imagine narratives of postcolonial women’s freedom: a freedom that has remained an impossibility in official discourses but that must be invented even where it did not exist in the past, in order that it might exist in the future. In this course we will dialogue with recent postcolonial feminist scholarship that explores the particular importance of imaginative work in theorizing the histories, politics, and intimacies that women of color participate in and contest. Focusing on—and challenging the boundary between—imaginative scholarship and creative literary texts as two types of narrative theorizing, this seminar aims to open space for students to experiment with creative methodologies in their own work.

AFR 392 • Black Studies Theory II

29620 • Spring 2016
Meets F 12:00PM-3:00PM GWB 1.138

An in-depth exploration of the innovative, complex, and distinctively African diaspora social structures and cultural traditions, as well as the historical, cultural, political, economic, and social development of people of African descent.

WGS 335 • Beyonce Femnsm/Rihanna Womnsm

46035 • Spring 2016
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM ETC 2.108
(also listed as AFR 372C)

Description:

In her single “Flawless,” released in December 2013, Beyoncé Knowles samples a speech by Nigerian writer Chimananda Ngozi which includes her definition of “feminist”: a “person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” As Beyoncé then continues to sing about what it means for “ladies” to “post up, flawless,” she literally inserts her music into African Diaspora conversations about what black feminism is, means, and does. In this course, we also enter this black feminist conversation—by engaging the music of recording artists Beyoncé and Rihanna as popular, accessible expressions of African American and Caribbean feminisms that reach worldwide audiences. Beginning with close analysis of these artists’ songs and videos, we read their oeuvre in conversation with black feminist theoretical works that engage issues of violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression. The course aims to provide students with an introduction to media studies methodology as well as black feminist theory, and to challenge us to close the gap between popular and academic expressions of black women’s concerns.

 

Texts:

Beyoncé, Beyoncé

Rihanna, Seven

Jack Halberstam, Gaga Feminism

Diane Rialton, Music Video and the Politics of Representation

Patricia Hill Collins, From Black Power to Hip Hop

Beverly Guy Sheftall, Words of Fire

bell hooks, ain’t i a woman

Faith Smith, Sex and the Citizen

Kemala Kempadoo, Sexing the Caribbean

 

Grading breakdown (percentages):

Attendance - 15%

Reading Responses on Bb – 25%

Discussion Leading – 20%

Final Paper – 40%

AFR 392 • Black Studies Theory II

29895 • Spring 2015
Meets T 11:00AM-2:00PM BUR 228

An in-depth exploration of the innovative, complex, and distinctively African diaspora social structures and cultural traditions, as well as the historical, cultural, political, economic, and social development of people of African descent.

WGS 335 • Beyonce Femnsm/Rihanna Womnsm

46574 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GDC 2.216
(also listed as AFR 372C)

Description:

In her single “Flawless,” released in December 2013, Beyoncé Knowles samples a speech by Nigerian writer Chimananda Ngozi which includes her definition of “feminist”: a “person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” As Beyoncé then continues to sing about what it means for “ladies” to “post up, flawless,” she literally inserts her music into African Diaspora conversations about what black feminism is, means, and does. In this course, we also enter this black feminist conversation—by engaging the music of recording artists Beyoncé and Rihanna as popular, accessible expressions of African American and Caribbean feminisms that reach worldwide audiences. Beginning with close analysis of these artists’ songs and videos, we read their oeuvre in conversation with black feminist theoretical works that engage issues of violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression. The course aims to provide students with an introduction to media studies methodology as well as black feminist theory, and to challenge us to close the gap between popular and academic expressions of black women’s concerns.

 

Texts:

Beyoncé, Beyoncé

Rihanna, Seven

Jack Halberstam, Gaga Feminism

Diane Rialton, Music Video and the Politics of Representation

Patricia Hill Collins, From Black Power to Hip Hop

Beverly Guy Sheftall, Words of Fire

bell hooks, ain’t i a woman

Faith Smith, Sex and the Citizen

Kemala Kempadoo, Sexing the Caribbean

AFR 317E • Black Spiritualities

30440 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM JES A209A
(also listed as R S 316K)

Born out of civil rights struggles in the 1960s, African Diaspora Studies departments and programs represent one of the youngest fields in academia. Yet the development of Black intellectual traditions is far from new. In fact, Africans in the Americas have been elaborating systems for developing and recording our knowledges since the Middle Passage. Psychology, medicine, visual arts, dance, historiography, literature: African Diasporics developed corollaries to all of these, as we Creolized African, European, and indigenous knowledge bases to serve the needs of the enslaved and their descendants. Traditionally, academia has pigeonholed these intellectual pursuits under the rubric of “African Diaspora religion,” so reinforcing stereotypes of African “irrationality.” More recently, however, scholars in the field of African Diaspora studies have developed a new approach to these knowledge bases. These scholars have attempted, first, to engage African Diaspora ways of knowing on their own terms; and, second, to bring these submerged epistemologies into conversation with Western academic disciplines. In this course, students will both read and participate in such efforts to bridge vernacular and academic epistemologies.

Theoretical, historical, and literary readings centering these problematics will challenge us to complicate easy divisions between traditional and scholarly knowledge, and to think creatively about how relationships between the two inform historical and contemporary cultures of the African Diaspora.

Texts (needs to be specific texts, not “course packet” or “TBA)”:

Karen McCarthy Brown, Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn

Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy

Yvonne Daniel, Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomble

Sharon Bridgforth, love conjure/blues

 

WGS 340 • Black Women And Dance

47835 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM JES A207A
(also listed as AFR 356E, T D 357T)

 

dance your anger

and your joys.

dance the guns

to silence

dance, dance, dance…

 

--Ken Saro-Wiwa

 

What does it mean for Black women to dance your anger and your joys, as activist-artist Ken Saro Wiwa put it: that is, to use our moving, creative, powerful bodies to respond to the violences of racism and sexism, and to envision new ways of being and moving in the world? This course journeys towards answers to this question by exploring women's participation in ritual, concert, and social dance in North America, Haiti, Cuba, and Brazil.  We will work through readings, viewings, and stagings, and interweave text, movement, and action to encourage students’ artistic as well as academic self-expression. Some of the questions we explore include: How can we view and create artistic work while still keeping social justice issues in mind? How do embodied practices become modes of organizing communities? How can we decipher the fragile histories that we carry and move through in our own bodies?

 

Primary Texts:,available at UT Co-op Bookstore

 

Yvonne Daniel, Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomble

Brenda Dixon Gottschild, The Black Dancing Body

Celeste Fraser Delgado and José Muñoz, eds. Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latino/a America

Julie Malnig, ed. Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader

 

**All other texts on the syllabus, unless otherwise noted, will be available electronically

 

 

Course Objectives:

 

This course may be used to fulfill the visual and performing arts component of the university core curriculum and addresses the following four core objectives established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: communication skills, critical thinking skills, teamwork, and social responsibility.

 

Communication Skills:

Students will experiment with sharing and creating knowledge of multiple literatures, cultures, histories, identities, and experiences in an intellectual community with many diverse, creative viewpoints. Students will be asked to compose dance journals, in which they are asked to “talk” to their body and pay attention to self-consciousness, aches and pains, “what feels good”, and pride. Students are asked to connect journal entries back to theoretical studies of perceptions of women and/in dance.

 

Critical Thinking Skills:

Students will be asked to compose spoken and written statements that reflect thoughtful, careful attention to subjects at hand, show inquisitiveness, represent attempts to make connections outside the classroom, and demonstrate creative engagement in new topics.

 

Teamwork:

Students will be asked to explore dance practice in a group setting, such as ritual dance, concert dance, or social/popular dance. To record their dance participation, students will keep a dance journal in which students will write reflections on Black women and dance in group experiences. Students will complete this work by speaking to other participants about their role in the group dance.

 

Social Responsibility:

In this course, students will engage texts that deal explicitly with (post)colonialism, slavery, racism, sexism, religious discrimination, poverty, state violence, genocide, sexual violence, and more. This course will explore the questions: “How can we view and create artistic work while keeping social justice issues in mind?”; “How do embodied practices become modes of organizing communitieis?”; “How can we decipher the fragile histories that we carry and move through in our own bodies?”.

 

Respectful Learning

 

In this course, students engage texts that deal explicitly with (post)colonialism, slavery, racism, sexism, religious discrimination, poverty, state violence, genocide, sexual violence, same-sex sexuality, and embodiment.  While the professor will provide historical contexts and academic frameworks for discussing these issues, many students may be unfamiliar with them and so may initially experience emotional responses as they confront their own privilege and oppression, ignorance and knowledge. The professor asks that students pay attention to such feelings and note where they challenge their ability to approach texts analytically. I also ask that everyone come to class willing to discuss these difficult, complex topics with openness and respect. Expressions of First World-ism, racism, classism, religious intolerance, homophobia, heterosexism, ableism, or sexism will not be tolerated. Instead, I expect students to take seriously the responsibility involved in university education in general, and in reading works that document violence and social injustice in particular. As part of this responsibility, I ask students to consider carefully how social and geopolitical positioning shapes what they do and do not react to, and complicates their relationships to texts in different ways.

 

Appreciated Attributes:

 

  1. Critical thinking—spoken and written statements reflect thoughtful, careful attention to subjects at hand; demonstrate independent, original thought; and include specific, properly documented references to all sources.
  2. Inquisitiveness—classroom participation shows willingness to ask questions about aspects of readings/discussions that remain unclear, and to seek additional information. 
  3. Making connections beyond the classroom—spoken and written statements express when a reading speaks to your particular experiences, interest, or knowledge.
  4. Creativity— spoken and written statements express willingness to engage new topics with imagination and flexibility. Imagining differently is the first step in changing the social injustices that we will engage!

AFR 376 • Senior Seminar

30837 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 0.128

A capstone course fpr AFR majors focusing on black intellectual traditions.

AFR 392 • Black Studies Theory II

30887 • Spring 2014
Meets T 1:00PM-4:00PM BEL 232

An in-depth exploration of the innovative, complex, and distinctively African diaspora social structures and cultural traditions, as well as the historical, cultural, political, economic, and social development of people of African descent.

WGS 393 • Women Of Color Feminisms

48110 • Fall 2013
Meets M 9:00AM-12:00PM BEL 232
(also listed as AFR 388)

“Nothing Less than to Imagine Another System of Value”: Postcolonial Feminism and The Work of Imagination   Calling for a black feminist criticism is to do nothing less than to imagine another system of value, one in which black women have value.”             --Grace Hong  

 

Recent postcolonial feminist criticism, including the beautiful new writing of M. Jacqui Alexander and Saidiya Hartman, argues persuasively that to tell meaningful stories of black and brown womanhood—and particularly of women of color’s sexuality—traditional scholarship, and particularly academic work which relies on the archive, can never suffice. While archives may be a point of departure, they posit, scholars must turn to creative methodologies to intuit and imagine narratives of postcolonial women’s freedom: a freedom that has remained an impossibility in official discourses but that must be invented even where it did not exist in the past, in order that it might exist in the future. In this course we will dialogue with recent postcolonial feminist scholarship that explores the particular importance of imaginative work in theorizing the histories, politics, and intimacies that women of color participate in and contest. Focusing on—and challenging the boundary between—imaginative scholarship and creative literary texts as two types of narrative theorizing, this seminar aims to open space for students to experiment with creative methodologies in their own work.  

Core texts

Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

Jamaica Kincaid, Autobiography of My Mother

Grace Cho, Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War

Jessica Hagedorn, Dream Jungle

M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred

Nalo Hopkinson, The Salt Roads

Gayatri Gopinath, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures

Shani Mootoo, Valmiki’s Daughter

Kara Keeling, The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, The Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense

Sharon Bridgforth, love conjure/ blues

AFR 376 • Senior Seminar

30447 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 9:30AM-11:00AM JES A230

A capstone course fpr AFR majors focusing on black intellectual traditions.

WGS 340 • Black Women And Dance

47292 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM MEZ 1.120
(also listed as AFR 372E, T D 357T)

What does it mean for Black women to dance the guns to silence, as activist-artist Ken Saro Wiwa put it; that is, to use our moving, creative, powerful bodies to respond to the violences of racism and sexism, and to envision new ways of being and moving in the world? This course journeys towards answers to this question by exploring women’s participation in ritual, concert, and social dance in North America, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil. We will work through readings, viewings, and stagings, and interweave text, movement, and action to encourage students’ artistic as well as academic self-expression. Some of the questions we explore include: How can we view and create artistic work while still keeping social justice issues in mind? How do embodied practices become modes of organizing communities? How can we decipher the fragile histories that we carry and move through in our own bodies?

AFR 372C • Postcolonial Women Writers

30269 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM GEA 114
(also listed as E 370W)

Instructor:  Tinsley, O            Areas:  V / G

Unique #:  35618            Flags:  n/a

Semester:  Fall 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  AFR 372C, C L 323            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: In September 1995, at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, participants committed that, by the end of the 20th century, all governments should “determine to advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity.” But after the first decade of the 21st century, have these goals been significantly advanced? How do women across the world view their positions as citizens, migrants, workers, parents, activists, and artists in this new millennium? This course explores answers to these questions by engaging literary work published by postcolonial women writers in the past decade. The creative texts that we consider question whether the effects of imperialism have ended in women’s lives; whether Western feminisms have developed to address Global Southern women’s needs; and what new possibilities for decolonization, feminism, and creativity remain to be explored. Theoretical, historical, and literary readings centering these problematics will challenge students to complicate easy divisions between feminism and postcoloniality, and to think creatively about how relationships between the two inform historical and contemporary cultures of globalization.

Texts: Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying; Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother; Chiminanda Adichie, Purple Hibiscus; Calixthe Beyala, How to Cook Your Husband the African Way; Dionne Brand, What We All Long For; Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber.

Requirements & Grading: Class Participation, 15%; Midterm, 25%; Final Paper, 25%, Short Book Reviews (5), 35%.

Curriculum Vitae


Profile Pages



  •   Map
  • Center for Women's & Gender Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    Burdine Hall 536
    2505 University Avenue, A4900
    Austin, Texas 78712
    512-471-5765