AFRS 382 - “Whitey on the Moon”: Race, Space, Place
Semester Offered: Fall
In 1970, when revolutionary poet Gil-Scott Heron released Whitey on the Moon, he pondered on the contradictions that made the moon-landing possible, and the struggles that Black people faced in housing, healthcare, and everyday life. Whitey on the Moon was called upon recently to awaken us to the irony of how two well-known billionaires launched into space in the midst of a global health crisis and the racist structures it has exposed.
Whitey on the Moon is the compass that aids us in grounding this course in the contemporary moment, while keeping in mind that we must expand our historical understanding of the continuing legacy of racial domination as inherently spatial, or as George Lipsitz suggests (and others, such as Ruth Wilson Gilmore) as the product of an ensemble of fatal links that connect race, place, and power. Within this conceptualization, we examine how race, space, and power operate materially and symbolically. To do so, we delve into the historical, political, social, and cultural manifestations, and as an interdisciplinary investigation, we engage with a broad range of texts, including poetry, film, primary sources, manifestos, book chapters, and works of art among others.
This seminar heavily relies on Critical Geography—and more specifically on Black Geographies—as the field of study to give us the conceptual tools to question and contend with difference (race as our primary lens, but also class, gender, ability, nationality, etc.) in space, and the systems of power that regulate the social taxonomical order, such as racial capitalism and the State.
The syllabus is loosely organized around geographical scales: World, nation, region, city, neighborhood, body/self. To this end, most of the ideas are centered on the United States, but by no means limited to it. Denisse Andrade.
One 2-hour period and individual conferences with the instructor.
Course Format: CLS
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