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This will be a slightly shorter assignment than the last (500 words, no more, no

by | Mar 6, 2022 | Other

 

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This will be a slightly shorter assignment than the last (500 words, no more, no less), but no less important.
By now we’ve followed a simple, if winding, path through the course: first, we discussed the way Blackness (and by extension, race itself) is the product of a process of Invention that takes place on the social, political, symbolic, psychological, and metaphysical landscape of what we know as the antiblack world; then, we dove into an examination of the violence elemental to that process of invention, and how the invention of the world and the invention of Blackness are processes that are stained with Black blood; and now, we move toward ‘ending’ our work with an examination of the kinds of counter-invention Black folk engage in as a way of responding to, resisting, and revolting against the invented world and its antiblack violence. This essay concerns that final part: how Black folk counter-invent lives, and writings, and theories, and art, etc. that challenges, evades, or outright upends the world as we know it, even if in small wayward ways. Our goal in this paper is simple: let’s think about the ways Black folk do this, following one of two (or three) trajectories.
First, you can engage with the scholarship and how the strategies Saidiya Hartman employs in Wayward Lives help us develop a critical, creative practice with which we might tell, or retell, the story of Blackness through minor and wayward figures ignored by or lost to the archive. This paper would engage with Hartman’s work and analyze Hartman’s method of writing about the women she chooses as her subjects throughout the book.
Second, you can engage with the subjects themselves. Here, you’d write about any of the subjects written about in Wayward Lives or interviewed in In Our Mothers’ Gardens and use them as examples of how Black women live lives that are wayward, defiant, creative, insurgent, etc., being sure to situate your analysis of their stories in relation to the larger question of how Black people push back against the terror and domination of the antiblack world with their actual lives/lived experiences.
Or, third, you can do some combination of the two above, the only danger being that you may have trouble balancing your argument in such a short space, and might suffer from only giving short, superficial accounts of both 1. and 2. without really offering a serious account of either.
Choose your adventure. Breathe. Write. Be creative if you like. This will be the most generously graded assignment (let’s end with a bit of generosity, kindness, and relief, given the state of things around us).

 

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