Department of English

Samantha Pinto


Associate Professor

Contact

Biography


Samantha Pinto (PhD, UCLA 2007) is Associate Professor of English and affiliated faculty of Women’s and Gender Studies, African and African Diaspora Studies, The Warfield Center for African American Studies, and LGBTQ Studies.  She teaches courses on African American, African Diaspora, African, postcolonial, and feminist studies. Her book, Difficult Diasporas: The Transnational Feminist Aesthetic of the Black Atlantic (NYU Press, 2013), was the winner of the 2013 William Sanders Scarborough Prize for African American Literature and Culture from the MLA. Her work has been published in journals including Meridians, Signs, Palimpsest, Safundi, Small Axe, and Atlantic Studies, and she has received fellowships from the NEH and the Harry Ransom Center. Her second book, Infamous Bodies, forthcoming from Duke, explores the relationship between 18th and 19th-century black women celebrities and discourses of race, gender, & human rights. She is currently at work on a third book, Under the Skin, on race, embodiment, and science in African Diaspora culture. 

Courses


E 316M • American Literature

34620-34695 • Fall 2020
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM UTC 2.112A
CD HU

E 316M  l  American Literature

 

Instructor:  Pinto, S

Unique #: 34620-34695

Semester:  Fall 2020

Cross-lists:  n/a

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

 

Description:  Made in America –

This course will trace the formation of American identity through the lens of fame and infamy.  From Founding Fathers to Hamilton, from witch-burning to Taylor Swift, how has American literature and culture negotiated itself through public reckonings with race, gender, sexuality, immigration, and other significant sites of meaning-making?  We will read Thomas Jefferson’s political writings alongside Native American political appeals; Puritan sermons alongside Harriet Jacobs’ narrative of enslavement; excerpts from Uncle Tom’s Cabin alongside the musical Hamilton; the original film of West Side Story alongside episodes of Master of None; and other exciting mixes of poetry, drama, prose, music, film, and art that will ask us to learn the historical context for American literary history as well as the skills of critical thinking, critical writing, and close reading through the many forms and genres of America’s sensational past.

 

Texts:  Provisional texts include The Coquette, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and The Crucible, as well as PDF readings, West Side Story and Master of None, and the soundtrack to Hamilton.

 

Requirements & Grading:  Attendance and participation including discussion section assignments (10%) and weekly “Lit Labs” in lecture (18%); lecture participation (2%); 3 exams that are a mix of ID/short answer and essay questions (15, 20, and 25%); A small individual research assignment based on your own interests (10%).

 

E 323D • Multiethnic Popular Culture

34875 • Fall 2020
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAR 105
CD

 

E 323D  l  Multiethnic Popular Culture

 

Instructor:  Pinto, S

Unique #: 34875

Semester:  Fall 2020

Cross-lists:  n/a

 

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

 

Description:  Robots, Romance, and Race: Multiethnic Literature and Film in Popular Genres

This course studies popular genres— superhero movies, detective stories, apocalypse narratives, procedurals, fantasy & sci-fi, young adult novels, romance and romantic comedy, espionage thrillers, big budget action movies—through the specific lens of contemporary U.S. multiethnic literature and culture.  If pop culture genres are usually thought to be less serious, less sophisticated, and more escapist, what happens when they are taken up by writers and artists concerned with, or thought to be concerned with, US histories of racism and xenophobia?  Who are these texts for, in terms of audience?  What work can popular genres do for anti-racist politics, and what are their limits?

 

Texts and authors may include:  Black Panther (film); To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (film); Always Be My Maybe (film); Shuri: The Search for Black Panther (graphic novel); On Such a Full Sea (novel); Trail of Lightning (YA novel); Pride (YA novel adaptation of Jane Austen); Fate of the Furious (film); Master of None (television show); Superstore (television show); Zone One (zombie novel); Hamilton (musical); American Spy (spy novel); I Hope You Get This Message (YA novel); and Skinwalkers (television show); as well as fiction by Octavia Butler; Attica Locke; Micheal Nava; A.X. Ahmad; and Walter Mosley.

 

Assignments may include:  An independent research project that does a deep dive into a popular genre of choice (20% of the grade), a variety of writing assignments that engage with contemporary and traditional media forms—close analysis papers (25% of your grade) but also film & book reviews, twitter & instagram platforms, podcasts, and creative writing/scripting (25% of your grade); class presentation/facilitation (10%), and participation (20%) [Grade breakdown is dependent on class size].

E 376M • After Beloved/Beyonce

35644 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 204
(also listed as LAH 350)

E 376M  l  After Beloved/After Beyoncé: HONORS

 

Instructor:  Pinto, S

Unique #:  35644

Semester:  Spring 2020

Cross-listings:  LAH 350

 

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

 

After Beloved/After Beyoncé will explore what happens in African American literature and popular culture after watershed texts appear and seemingly change the landscape for authors, artists and critics. First, we will look at literary & cultural responses to Toni Morrison's Beloved, including Edward P Jones’s novel The Known World, Natasha Trethewey's poetry collections Native Guardand Belloqc's Ophelia, the film version of Morrison's novel (starring Oprah) and its controversies, Steve McQueen’s film 12 years a Slaveand its debates, Mat Johnson's comedic neo-neo-slave narrative Pym, and Colson Whitehead's recent The Underground Railroad. Next, we will explore Lemonade's release and subsequent reception, and consider the production and reception of black popular culture after this critical moment, including Barry Jenkins's film Moonlight, Morgan Parker's critically lauded poetry collection There are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé, Podcast phenomena such as "Two Dope Queens" and "The Read," and Tressie McMillan Cottom's book of personal essays entitled Thick.  We will end with Morrison's Norton lecture book of essays, The Origin of Others, her full-length original work published in the post-Lemonadeera.

 

Assignments will include creating a secondary source and social media critical timeline for the two watershed texts, lead off response questions & facilitation for one week of the class, a research project, and an abstract, annotated bibliography, outline, and paper based on student interest in the texts or themes of the course.

E 395M • Multiethnic Feminist Forms

35800 • Spring 2020
Meets TH 11:00AM-2:00PM GAR 0.120
(also listed as AFR 388, AMS 391, WGS 393)

This course will cover contemporary genre, and genre-bending work in multiethnic American feminist literature and theory, with a focus on intersections of race, gender, & sexuality. Primary texts will include: In the Wake, Electric Arches, Nanette, Self-Devouring Growth, Argonauts, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, Slave Play, Wayward Lives, Look, Fairview, and work by Jia Tolentino, Rebecca Roanhorse, Carmen Machado, Issa Rae, and Deborah Paredez, among others. We will read ultra contemporary criticism and theory in Black Studies, American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Critical Race Studies, Queer Studies, Literary & Cultural Studies, and Feminism alongside these texts in order to ask:  How has contemporary creative feminist form affected the production of feminist criticism? How has feminist criticism informed the production of expressive culture?  How and why does form matter to feminist thought? What happens when feminist thought inhabits different genres of creative and critical expression?

E 316M • American Literature

34820-34875 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM UTC 2.102A
CD HU

E 316M  l  American Literature

 

Instructor:  Pinto, S

Unique #:  34820-34875

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  n/a

 

Prerequisites: One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

 

Description:  Made in America --

This course will trace the formation of American identity through the lens of fame and infamy.  From Founding Fathers to Hamilton, from witch-burning to Taylor Swift, how has American literature and culture negotiated itself through public reckonings with race, gender, sexuality, violence, politics, and other significant sites of meaning-making?  We will read Thomas Jefferson’s political writings alongside Native American political appeals; Puritan sermons alongside Harriet Jacobs’ narrative of enslavement; excerpts from Uncle Tom’s Cabinalongside Hamilton; Melville’s novella Benito Cerenoalongside episodes of Master of None; and other exciting pairings of poetry, drama, prose, music, film, and art that will ask us to learn the historical context for American literary history as well as the skills of critical thinking, critical writing, and close reading of the many forms and genres of America’s sensational past.

 

Texts: Provisional texts include The Coquette, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and The Crucible, as well as a course packet, screenings of Carmen Jonesand Master of None, and the soundtrack to Hamilton.

 

Requirements & Grading: Attendance and participation including discussion section assignments and weekly “Lit Labs” in lecture; Exams that are a mix of ID, short answer, and essay questions; A small individual research assignment based on your own interests.

E 316M • American Literature

35235-35270 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.306
CD HU

E 316M  l  American Literature

 

Instructor:  Pinto, S

Unique #:  35235-35270

Semester:  Spring 2019

Cross-lists:  n/a

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction: No

 

Prerequisites: One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

 

Description:  Made in America -- 

This course will trace the formation of American identity through the lens of fame and infamy.  From Founding Fathers to Hamilton, from witch-burning to Taylor Swift, how has American literature and culture negotiated itself through public reckonings with race, gender, sexuality, violence, politics, and other significant sites of meaning-making?  We will read Thomas Jefferson’s political writings alongside founding Native American myths; Puritan sermons alongside Kate Chopin’s The Awakening; excerpts from Uncle Tom’s Cabinalongside Hamilton; Melville’s novella Benito Cerenoalongside Anna Deavere Smith’s performance piece Twilight: Los Angeles; and other exciting pairings of poetry, drama, prose, music, film, and art that will ask us to learn the historical context for American literary history as well as the skills of critical thinking, critical writing, and close reading of the many forms and genres of America’s sensational past.

 

Texts: Provisional texts include the Heath Anthology of American Literatureand select editions of other texts, along with a course packet.

 

Requirements & Grading: (no mention of discussion sections)  Attendance and participation including weekly assignments and clickers in class; Exams that are a mix of short answer and essay questions; A small individual research assignment based on your own interests.

AFR 317C • African Cultural Studies

30385 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 203
(also listed as WGS 301)

African Cultural Studies:  Film, Literature, & Media in 20th and 21st Century Africa

This course will focus on introducing students to African Cultural Studies, incorporating the study of film, radio, literature, performance, new media, and cultural theory across the continent.  How might these cultural forms construct different narratives of Africa than other popular mediums, such as journalism or history?  How does the technology of culture (i.e. photography, publishing, distribution, online access) intersect with issues of colonialism, globalization, human rights, and nationalism?  To answer these questions, we will study cultural texts and their national and diasporic contexts, organized around several core, related sections.  These groupings aim to unsettle fixed notions of what constitutes African art and culture, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries: 

  • “African Imagination/Imagining Africa,” where we will encounter now “classic” texts from the continent, such as Ousmane Sembene’s film Xala and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, alongside of lesser known (in the West) texts and secondary material on cultural politics in and around Africa
  • “Constructing Gender and Sexuality,” which will focus on cultural texts that address the complicated relationship between race, gender, and sexuality in the burgeoning African film industry and beyond, such as the 1997 film Dakan and Mariama Ba’s novel So Long a Letter
  • “Envisioning Human Rights,” which will look at how competing political ideologies and strategies of development are represented in African culture, both in conventional (i.e. documentary) and more surprising generic formats (including materials in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center)
  • “Making Media/Making Modern Africa,” where we will explore technology and "new" media including radio, television, innovative film distribution networks, and internet innovations in African culture. 

Overall, this course will ask us to expand and complicate our vision of African culture and politics through intensive study of the continent’s wide-ranging cultural forms.

Curriculum Vitae


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