Black Feminist Theories: On the Question of Gender
The seminar will center on questions of slavery, its long duree and the notion of (female) gender. Students will engage with these
questions from a Black feminist perspective, as they will be concerned with the links between race, place, history, blackness,
sexuality, and gender, and with the significance of transatlantic slavery to contemporary black (North American) experiences.
The seminar will be taught by Dr. Christina Sharpe, who is Associate Professor of English, Africana, and American Studies at Tufts
University. A few days before the beginning of the seminar, Dr. Sharpe will give a public lecture on the tension between “life and
death,” between blackness, the future and questions of mourning. Students will be required to attend the public lecture, as the seminar will be based on it.
As for its structure, the sessions with Dr. Sharpe will take place from May 2 – 4, Friday evening through Sun morning. To begin with, Dr. Sharpe will give a lecture on Valerie Martin’s neo-slave mistress novel Property, which will be followed by 4 three-hour
intense sessions over the weekend. After this series of intense sessions, students will have the opportunity to follow up on what
they have discussed and worked on with Dr. Sharpe in a small series of workshops with two PhD candidates from the Bremen Black Studies group at the University of Bremen, Michel Büch and Samira Spatzek.
Required readings BEFORE the seminar (articles are either available
online, per download through the UB e-lib system or available in the
Adrienne Davis, “Don’t Let Nobody Bother Yo Principle The Sexual
Economy of American Slavery”
Cathy Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers and Welfare Queens: The Radical
Potential of Queer Politics”
Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, “Black Atlantic, Queer Atlantic: Queer
Imaginings of the Middle Passage”
Hortense Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American
Sylvia Wynter, “No Humans Involved: An Open Letter to My Colleagues”
Saidiya Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts”
Greg Thomas, “Proud Flesh interviews with Sylvia Wynter”
M. NoubeSe Philip, Zong!
June Jordan, “The Difficult Miracle of Black Poetry in America:
Something like a Sonnet for Phillis Wheatley”
Sabine Broeck, “Enslavement as Regime of Western Modernity: Re-
reading Gender Studies Epistemology Through Black Feminist
Critique”; „The Challenge of Black Feminist Desire: Abolish Property“