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FEMGEN 154G: Black Magic: Ethnicity, Race, and Identity in Performance Cultures (AFRICAAM 154G, AFRICAAM 254G, CSRE 154D, TAPS 154G, TAPS 354G)

In 2013, CaShawn Thompson devised a Twitter hashtag, #blackgirlmagic, to celebrate the beauty and intelligence of black women. Twitter users quickly adopted the slogan, using the hashtag to celebrate everyday moments of beauty, accomplishment, and magic. The slogan offered a contemporary iteration of an historical alignment: namely, the concept of "magic" with both Black people as well as "blackness." This course explores the legacy of Black magic--and black magic--through performance texts including plays, poetry, films, and novels. We will investigate the creation of magical worlds, the discursive alignment of magic with blackness, and the contemporary manifestation of a historical phenomenon. We will cover, through lecture and discussion, the history of black magic representation as well as the relationship between magic and religion. Our goal will be to understand the impact and history of discursive alignments: what relationship does "black magic" have to and for "black bodies"? How do we understand a history of performance practice as being caught up in complicated legacies of suspicion, celebration, self-definition? The course will give participants a grounding in black performance texts, plays, and theoretical writings. *This course will also satisfy the TAPS department WIM requirement.*
Last offered: Spring 2022 | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-EDP
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