Department of English

Samantha Pinto


ProfessorPhD, UCLA

Samantha Pinto

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

35465-35670 • Fall 2022
Hybrid/Blended
CD HU

Instructor: Pinto, S

Unique #: 35465-35670

Semester: Fall 2022

Cross-lists: n/a

Prerequisites: One of the following: English303C, Rhetoric and Writing306, 306Q, 309K, or Tutorial Course303C.

Description: Discovering History and Form in American Literature–Focusing on a wide range of diverse authors and voices, this course surveys US-American literature from Indigenous creation stories and early colonial encounters all the way to the musical Hamilton. Throughout, we explore how history and culture relate to aesthetic form. What new literary forms did enslaved people’s resistance to their enslavement produce? How have cultural ideas about femininity and masculinity influenced the development of American literature? What contributions has popular culture made to American literature, and vice versa. We will also focus on skills of close reading, creative critical thinking, and writing.Lectures and lecture segments will be asynchronous and available on Canvas. Mandatory weekly discussion sessions will be held in person.

Texts: Book-length works (all available as e-texts) will include Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave; Girland Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself. We will also have a Canvas course packet including works by authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Sui Sin Far, Zitkala-Sa, Walt Whitman, and many others. The class will conclude with the a film, a TV episode, and the soundtrack to Hamilton.

Requirements & Grading: Reading quizzes and lecture exercises (25%); Discussion section and discussion board contributions (25%); Written work, including critical and creative responses, close-reading analyses, and more (50%).

E 397N • Looking Black Diasp Vis Cul

36165 • Fall 2022
Meets M 9:00AM-12:00PM CAL 323
(also listed as AFR 387C, WGS 393)

What is the relationship between visual art, poetry, and film in the African Diaspora? This class examines the long-standing theorization of “looking” in African American and African Diaspora culture in order to explore what the visual means— and how the act of looking is the subject of— Black poetry, film, and performance. How has the history of images shaped the history of race, and vice versa?  How and why have both “high art” and popular visual culture been so widely incorporated into Black film and poetry, but also scholarship on race & history, philosophy, and politics? How has African American & African Diaspora poetry and performance re-framed, staged, and transformed these visuals and theories of the gaze in its own page- and stage- based practices? And central to this course, how are gender and sexuality foregrounded in these negotiations with the visual politics of race? Primary texts may include work by filmmakers like Ousmane Sembene, Berry Gordy, Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye, Kasi Lemmons, Barry Jenkins, Steve McQueen, Kathleen Collins, Isaac Julien, John Akomfrah. and Wangechi Mutu; poets such as Claudia Rankine, Erica Hunt, Warsan Shire, Deborah Roberts, TJ Dema, Elizabeth Alexander, Robin Coste Lewis, Cherene Sherrard, and Natasha Trethewey; dramatists such as Rankine (again), Adrienne Kennedy, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Angelina Weld Grimke; work for children by creative authors such as Edwidge Danticat, Oliver Senior, Grace Nichols; prose/visuals by Jamaica Kincaid; as well as graphic novels such as Aya of Yop City and La Borinquena. A range of Black art history, cultural & performance studies, and feminist theory will be on the syllabus, which will be organized around 3 sections:  past/future, high/low, & both/and.  Assignments will include a visual review in the form of public writing, a running document of reading/viewing notes, a facilitation/critical question class, an annotated bibliography, and a final project that can take many forms (inclusive of traditional seminar papers or creative, curatorial, or mixed-genre/method work, all directed by student research interests as long as they engage the animating questions of the course).

E F316M • American Literature-Wb

80590 • Summer 2021
Internet; Asynchronous
CD HU

E f316M  l  American Literature-WB

Instructor:  Pinto, S

Unique #:  80590

Semester:  Summer 2021, first session

Cross-lists:  n/a

 

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

Description:  Discovering History and Form in American Literature –

Focusing on a wide range of diverse authors and voices, this course surveys US-American literature from Indigenous speeches to contemporary film.  Throughout, we explore how history and culture relate to aesthetic form.  What new literary forms did enslaved people’s resistance to their enslavement produce?  How have cultural ideas about femininity and masculinity influenced the development of American literature?  What contributions has popular culture made to American literature, and vice versa?  We will also focus on skills of close reading, creative critical thinking, and writing.  Lectures and lecture segments will be asynchronous and available on Canvas, as will all other assignments and assessments.

Texts:  Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself.  Other readings will include excerpts from Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, as well as by authors such as Phillis Wheatley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sui Sin Far, Sandra Cisneros, Walt Whitman, ire’ne lara silva, and others.  The class will conclude with the movie Moonlight and the soundtrack to Hamilton.

Requirements & Grading:  Canvas Reading quizzes (25%); Textual annotations using Hypothes.is (20%); Lecture exercises using UT Instapoll (15%); Three Lit Lab writing assignments (40%).

WGS F305 • Intro To Wmn'S/Gndr Studies-Wb

84000 • Summer 2021
Internet; Asynchronous
CD

Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that asks critical questions about the relationships between sex, gender, society, and our own experiences as political acts. In this course, students will come to understand key differences between sex, gender, and sexuality; define feminism both broadly and personally, particularly in relationship to race, class, and other intersectional aspects of identity; learn about queer and trans histories and experiences; explore women’s experiences in international contexts; and investigate the body and its representation as a way to uncover gender norms and expectations. We will also discuss and write about recent social controversies (such as bathroom legislation, bias incidents, the exclusion of groups from the Women’s March on Washington) as moments that reveal and critique the cultural codes of gender. An emphasis will be placed on self-identified women, LGBTQA+ individuals, and people of color.

E 395M • Race/Science In Amer Lit-Wb

36410 • Spring 2021
Meets T 11:00AM-2:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
(also listed as WGS 393)

Skin & Bones: Race, Gender, and the Scientific Imagination in 19C and Early 20C America

This course examines the rich and recent critical turns to the medical humanities & science studies in the fields of mid to late 19C and early 20C/modernist American literature. Scientific discourse figured prominently in the cultural imagination of this period that covers the rise & institutionalization of professional medicine, sexology, medical racism, eugenics, natural history, museum culture, anthropology, and expedition/exploration “fever.” We will look at recent critical material such Sari Altschuler’s The Medical Imagination, Deirdre Cooper Owens's Medical Bondage, Britt Rusert’s Fugitive Science, Andrea Stone's Black Well Being, and Kyla Schuller’s The Biopolitics of Feeling alongside texts like Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House, Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood, Maria Ruiz de Burton’s Who Would Have Thought It?, Zitkala-Sa's American Indian Stories, George Schuyler's Black No More, and Frank Norris’s McTeague. We will also examine autobiographical, scientific, visual, sound, and exhibition materials of the period, particularly those having to do with anthropological & medical study. 

WGS 305 • Intro Women'S/Gender Stds-Wb

46010 • Spring 2021
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM
Internet; Synchronous
CD

Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that asks critical questions about the relationships between sex, gender, society, and our own experiences as political acts. In this course, students will come to understand key differences between sex, gender, and sexuality; define feminism both broadly and personally, particularly in relationship to race, class, and other intersectional aspects of identity; learn about queer and trans histories and experiences; explore women’s experiences in international contexts; and investigate the body and its representation as a way to uncover gender norms and expectations. We will also discuss and write about recent social controversies (such as bathroom legislation, bias incidents, the exclusion of groups from the Women’s March on Washington) as moments that reveal and critique the cultural codes of gender. An emphasis will be placed on self-identified women, LGBTQA+ individuals, and people of color.

E 323D • Multiethnic Popular Culture-Wb

34875 • Fall 2020
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM
Internet; Synchronous
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.

Current Graduate Students


Current Graduate Students:

  • Lea Burgess, AADS Ph.D. Student
  • Faith Williams, Center for Women's & Gender Studies Ph.D Student