John L Warfield Center

Hershini Young


ProfessorPh.D., 1999, Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

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Courses


AFR 330T • Diasporic Magic: Lit/Perf-Wb

31104 • Spring 2021
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
CDGCWr (also listed as C L 323)

A child born when the door between the spirit and material world was swinging open, 100 year old vampires who look like little girls, and crack cocaine as a character with a wicked sense of humor: this class will use satirical and slightly off-kilter texts and performances to examine real life dark forces that plague contemporary black societies across the world. Moving from Southern Africa to black England to African America, this class explores not just the meaning of race, gender and sexuality, but also how those categories of identity can be reimagined given the omnipresent threat that black lives face. We will pay close attention to both issues of context (historical, socio-economic and anthropological) as well as to questions of structure and genre. Specifically we will think through notions of Afrofuturism, addiction, ecological disaster capitalism, thinking through how the ways black people make and embody art inform the content. The class will also include a large number of contemporary cultural texts such as music videos, popular dance trends and music.

Texts:

1. Fledgling by Octavia Butler

2. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

3. Delicious Foods: A Novel by James Hannaham

4. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

5. The Girl with All the Gifts (Film)

6. Pumzi directed by Wanuri Kahiu (Film)

7. “In their Own Form” (Jan 21-May 16): Christian Green Gallery and Idea Lab

8. The Fits directed by Anna Rose Holmer (Film)

9. Performances by Nelisiwe Xaba, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Nora Chipaumire, Wura Natasha-Ogunji and Faka

Supplemental theoretical material will be provided on various authors in course documents.

AFR 392 • Black Studies Theory II-Wb

31250 • Spring 2021
Meets TH 11:00AM-2:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
(also listed as WGS 393)

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.

AFR 330W • Black Queer Literature/Film

30085 • Fall 2020
Meets T 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 201
Hybrid/Blended
CDGCWr

In recent years the term “queer” has emerged as an identity and an analytical framework that focuses on non-normative ways of being. This seminar will combine elements of critical race theory and queer theory to investigate the particular experiences and cultural production of Black sexual and gender variant communities. We will analyze written works and films/videos by and about lesbians, bisexual, transgender and gay Black people.  Emphasis will be on understanding the historical and theoretical construction of sexual and gender identities and sexual/cultural practices in Black communities. Special attention will be paid to the construction of race, gender and sexual identities in North America, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom

AFR 340 • Contemp African Pop Culture-Wb

30115 • Fall 2020
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
GC (also listed as WGS 340)

The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the most significant aspects of popular culture in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Manifestations of popular culture are considered as markers of modern African identities, embedded in complex and varied socio-cultural, historical and political contexts. Within the current era of global, diasporic, and transnational flows, it is neither sufficient any longer to view Africa solely from the perspective of political economies, nor to discuss contemporary African culture within the tradition-versus-modernity debate. Manifestations of popular culture in Africa show that the continent is part and parcel of the postmodern world, with cultural production simultaneously influenced by global trends and specific African contexts. The course will cover various forms of cultural expression and genres, including popular film, music, literature, dance, comics and cartoons, fashion, sport, street art, theatre, and contemporary visual arts. Attention will be paid to the production modes, audiences and sites of consumption of these different genres and aspects of popular culture. Course instruction will include extensive film and clip viewings, analysis of music, and reading fictional texts such as popular novels and comics.

Texts:

  • Marguerite Abouet Aya: Life in Yop City.
  • Nadine Dolby: Constructing Race: Youth, Identity and Popular Culture in South Africa.
  • Manthia Diawara In Search of Africa.
  • Sokari Ekine ed. SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa. 
  • Relebohile Moletsane, Claudia Mitchell, and Ann Smith eds. Was it Something I Wore? Dress, Identity, Materialitiy.
  • Mwenda Ntarangwi East African Hip-Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization.
  • Simon Weller and Garth Walker South African Township Barbershops and Salons.

AFR 374D • Diasporic Magic: Lit/Perfrm

30715 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CMA 5.190
CDGCWr

Please check back for updates.

AFR 392 • Black Studies Theory II

30815 • Spring 2020
Meets TH 10:00AM-1:00PM GWB 1.138
(also listed as WGS 393)

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.

AFR 374F • Home In Contemp Blk Fiction

30685 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 2.112

Please check back for updates.

AFR 374D • Diasporic Magic: Lit/Perfrm

30727 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 127
CD

Course Description:

A girl punished for her crimes with a sloth attached to back, vampires who look like little girls, and crack cocaine as a character with a wicked sense of humor: this class will use satirical and slightly off-kilter texts and performances to examine real-life dark forces that plague contemporary black societies across the world.  Moving from Southern Africa to black England to African America, this class explores not just the meaning of race, gender and sexuality, but also how those categories of identity can be reimagined given the omnipresent threat that black lives face. We will pay close attention to both issues of context (historical, socio-economic and anthropological) as well as to questions of structure and genre.  Specifically we will think through notions of Afrofuturism, addiction, ecological disaster capitalism, thinking through how the ways black people make and embody art inform the content.  The class will also include a large number of contemporary cultural texts such as music videos, popular dance trends and music.

 

Readings:

  1. Fledgling by Octavia Butler
  2. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
  3. Delicious Foods: A Novel by James Hannaham
  4. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
  5. Welcome to Our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe
  6. The Girl with All the Gifts (Film)
  7. Pumzi directed by Wanuri Kahiu (Film)
  8. The Fits directed by Anna Rose Holmer (Film)
  9. http://wangechimutu.com/    (website of artist)
  10. Performances by Nelisiwe Xaba, Nora Chipaumire,Wura Natasha-Ogunji and Faka

 

Requirements/Grading:

  1. Attendance and participation are crucial. More than two unexcused absences will be penalized. I will be asking for volunteers to look up information throughout the semester and this can boost your participation grade. If you keep up with the reading, you should do well in this class.  However even if you haven’t read, be sure to come to class. Every student will have at least one question or point prepared for discussion each class. (10%)
  2. Every student must sign up for one performance based on the reading. Further information will be given during class about what this entails.  (15%)
  3.  Students will be given three short assignments and/or quizzes. (20%)
  4. 4-page minimum paper.  I will be handing out topics later in the semester but students are welcome to come up with their own topics, provided I approve them during office hours. Students with late papers will be penalized.  (20%)
  5. 5-7 page final comparative paper.  Topics will be distributed later in the semester.  There will be no final exam for this class.  I do not grade late final papers.  (35%)

Curriculum Vitae


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  • John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    210 W 24th St.
    Mailcode D7200
    Austin, Texas, 78705
    512-471-1784