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Hershini Young

CWGS Core Teaching FacultyPh.D., 1999, Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Professor in AADS



AFR 374F • Home In Contemp Blk Fiction

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

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AFR 374D • Diasporic Magic: Lit/Perfrm

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

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.



  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.    (website of artist)
  10. Performances by Nelisiwe Xaba, Nora Chipaumire,Wura Natasha-Ogunji and Faka



  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%)

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    2505 University Avenue, A4900
    Austin, Texas 78712