My second semester as a Part-Time faculty person at The New School in the First Year Writing Program has officially started! I was tweeting about this course – the second I’ve designed — and there was a request to share it, so I thought I’d put it here and share with other scholars curious about pleasure politics and the overlaps/layers with regards to intersectional feminism. I can also post the Writing Toward Inclusion syllabus if that’s something of interest to y’all; let me know in the comments.
The essays/articles and scholarship that isn’t hyperlinked I accessed through the New York Public Library; I’m sure you can find copies through your local superheroes at your academic or public library institution as well. In future classes, I look forward to teaching adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism which I just pre-ordered, and you should too!
I’ve adapted and erased some stuff below in order to streamline access to the best parts. Enjoy!
Subversive Joy: Writing the Senses As Resistance –In this first-year research seminar, we will examine literary works, theories and perspectives on the ways traditionally marginalized and/or oppressed communities have used humor, joy, spirituality and creativity to assert their humanity beyond constructs that only see some bodies as sites of trauma or for the uses of exploitation. After all, who doesn’t love an underdog, someone with so much faith and hope that they will make a way from no way? What does dedication to creating beauty and a legacy of art in a community that is rarely viewed in its full complexity truly mean, particularly for literature? Where and when has this resistance art flourished? Who has sought to de-legitimize it and have those efforts been successful? Is this simply an idealistic concept or is there scientific evidence that bears it out as necessary for survival? What is the impact on canon and individual work when trauma, pain and struggle are metabolized on the page into healing, connection and reconciliation? Readings may include Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, David Mura, Tommy Pico, Ross Gay, adrienne maree brown, Lucille Clifton, Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Brittney Cooper and others.
Course Learning Objectives & Outcomes: Students who successfully complete this course will be able to conduct basic research and analyze text in order to write more comprehensive, relevant essays with inclusive audiences in mind. By the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Read texts critically for intersectional and inclusionary language and context
- Contextualize feminist contemporary writing
- Draft Annotated Bibliographies
- Write effective and comprehensive narrative responses, analyses and critiques of work from a range of perspectives — especially intersectional feminist praxis –from an informed, historical perspective
- Develop processes and strategies for identifying diverse and expansive primary and secondary sources of groundbreaking, visionary scholarship.
Most of the reading assignments are available online for free and will be posted to Canvas with the exception of
Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers
Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches, Audre Lorde
|WEEK 1||Jan. 22
Introduction & Overview of the Course
|January 22: Introduction, Walk-Through of Syllabus, Course Policies & Procedures.
The Global Center for Advanced Studies: “The Subversive Act of Joy”
Reading Assignment for Next Class: David Mura, “On Race and Craft: Tradition and the Individual Talent Revisited” from David Mura’s book, A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity and Narrative Craft in Writing
January 24: Workshop with David Mura, author of A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity and Narrative Craft in Writing
|WEEK 2||Jan. 29
|Research Methods for Writing||Reading for January 29th: Rules for Writers, Chapter 50: Thinking like a researcher; gathering sources
Reading for January 31st: Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde: “Poetry is Not A Luxury”
|WEEK 3||Feb. 5th
|On Feelings, Power & Resistance||Reading for February 5th: Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde: “Uses of the Erotic.”
Reading for February 7th: Rules for Writers, Chapter 51, Managing Information, Taking Notes Responsibly
|WEEK 4||Feb. 12th
|Preparing for Essay I
|Introduction to Workshopping & Preparation for Essay I due February 28th
Reading for February 12th: Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde: “An Interview: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich.”
Reading for February 14th: “The History of Emotions: An Interview with William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns,” from History and Theory 49 (May 2010), 237-265
|WEEK 5||Feb. 19th
|Drafting, Researching and Workshopping||Reading for February 19th class: “The Meaning of Pleasure & The Pleasure of Meaning: Towards A Definition of Pleasure in ‘Reception Analysis,”” by Elisabeth Klaus & Barbara O’Connor
|WEEK 6||Feb. 26th
|Writers on Joy and Happiness||Reading for February 26th: Mary Pipher, January 2018, New York Times Op-Ed: The Joy of Being A Woman in Her 70s
Reading for February 28th : Zadie Smith on Joy
Essay I is DUE
|WEEK 7||Mar. 5th
|Joy & Struggle Outside of the U.S.||Reading for March 5th: “The Joy of the Militancy: Happiness and the Pursuit of Revolutionary Struggle” by Yoana Fernanda Nieto-Valdivieso
Reading for March 7th: “‘I love myself when I am dancing and carrying on’: refiguring the agency of black women’s creative expression in Jamaican Dancehall culture,” by Bibi Bakare-Yusuf
|Black Feminist Visions of a Politics of Pleasure||
Reading for March 12th: “Why We Get Off: Moving Towards a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure,” by Joan Morgan, Winter 2015
Reading for March 14th: The Joys of Being A Black Woman, Crunk Feminist Collective 2011
Optional Revision of Essay I due (Part of In-Class/Online percentage)
NO CLASSES NEXT WEEK – HAVE A GREAT SPRING BREAK!
|Rest & Resistance||Reading for March 26th: “Resting in Gardens, Battling in Deserts: Black Women’s Activism” by Joy James, The Black Scholar, 1999
Reading for March 28th: Resistance as Happiness: David Blumenthal, CrossCurrents, March 2014
|Drafting Essay 2||No Reading for April 2nd.
In-Class Writing: Draft Annotated Bibliography
Draft Thesis Statements and Outlines for Essay 2
Reading for April 4th: “Happiness (or not) after rape: hysterics and harpies in the media versus killjoys in black women’s fiction” by Zoë Brigley Thompson
|Workshopping Essay 2 Drafts||
Reading for April 11th: Amber Rose & Black Women’s Sexuality, Bitch Magazine
|Revolutionary Visions of Joy||Reading for April 16th: “‘Learning to be Zen’: women travelers and the imperative to Happy” by Emily Falconer, Journal of Gender Studies, 2017
Reading for April 18th: Alice Walker, “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: The Creativity of Black Women in the South. (1974)” from In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens
|Pleasure & Bliss in Writing & Activism||Reading for April 23rd: Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of The Text
Reading for April 25th: “Five Tangible Tools of the Pleasure Activist” by adrienne maree brown
|Creative Resistance & Revision||Draft Thesis Statements, Outlines & Workshopping
Reading for April 30th: “Tryin’ to Scrub that ‘Death Pussy’ Clean Again: The Pleasures of Domesticating HIV/AIDS in Pearl Cleage’s Fiction” by Timothy S. Lyle, African American Review, Summer 2017
Reading for May 2nd: Ross Gay on the connections between gardening and poetry, Wild Love.
|No Reading for May 7th, Final Workshop, Course Evaluations
May 9th: ESSAY 3 DUE, Final Class