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Welcome to Zora’s Daughters, Semester 1!

We offer this “syllabus” – a reading list to go along with each episode – as an opportunity to combat the erasure and silencing of Black women’s voices within and outside of the discipline. Irma McClaurin coined Black feminist anthropology as an intervention on the whiteness and maleness of the discipline. Black feminist anthropology is “self-consciously fashioned as an act of knowledge production and sees itself as a form of cultural mediation between the world of Black scholars and entire Western intellectual tradition, between Black anthropologists and the rest of the discipline, and between Black and white feminists” (McClaurin 2001, 2). We aim to dig deeper into societal issues through this lens and change the lives of Black people across the diaspora. This syllabus is a work in progress.

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101: Misogynoir

Required:
On misogynoir: citation, erasure, and plagiarism (Moya Bailey and Trudy, 2018)
Looking for Zora (Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, 1975)
A Society of One: Zora Neale Hurston, American Contrarian (The New Yorker, Claudia Roth Pierpoint, 1997)

Optional:
Thick: And Other Essays (Tressie McMillan Cottom, 2019)
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals (Saidiya Hartman, 2019)
Watch: The Grapevine TV

102: Ain’t I a Woman? + #ProtectALLBlackWomen

Required:
Ain’t I a Woman? (Sojourner Truth, 1851)
Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book (Hortense Spillers, 1987)
Adultification & #FreeGrace: A Thread (Zora’s Daughters, 2020)

Optional:
Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Aimee Cox, 2015)
Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco (Savannah Shange, 2019)
Sapphire as Praxis: Toward a Methodology of Anger (Bettina Judd, 2019)

103: The Politics of Respectability

Required:
Lady Saw Cuts Loose: Female Fertility Rituals in the Dancehall” (Carolyn Cooper, 2004)
Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” (Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider, 1978)

Optional:
The Emergence of Modern Blackness in Jamaica” (Deborah Thomas, 2007)
Reputation and Respectability: A Suggestion for Caribbean Ethnology” (Peter J. Wilson, 1969)
Black Sexual Economies: Race and Sex in a Culture of Capital (Adrienne D. Davis and the BSE Collective, 2019)
Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women (Brittney C. Cooper, 2017)
The Booty Don’t Lie: Pleasure, Agency, and Resistance in Black Popular Dance” in Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the 21st Century (Takiyah Nur Amin, 2020)
Twerk sumn!: theorizing Black girl epistemology in the body” (Aria S. Halliday, 2020)

104: Environmental Racism & The Anthropocene

Required:
Blackness and the Pitfalls of Anthropocene Ethics (Axelle Karera, 2019)
How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering (The New York Times, Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, 2020)

Optional:
Troubling Ecology: Wangechi Mutu, Octavia Butler, and Black Feminist Interventions in Environmentalism (Chelsea M. Frazier, 2016)
Parable of the Sower (Octavia E. Butler, 1993)
On the Importance of a Date, or, Decolonizing the Anthropocene (Zoe Todd, 2017)

105: Visibility, Silencing, and Whisper Networks

Required:
The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action (Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider, 1978)
How Do We Listen to the Living? (Brendane Tynes, 2020)

Optional:
Summertime Selves (On Professionalization) (Nick Mitchell, 2019)
The Patron (Nell Gluckman, 2020)
You Belong to Me: Sex, Race and Murder in the South (John Cork, 2014)

106: Immigration, Reproductive Justice, and Necropolitics

Required:
Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights (Angela Davis, Women, Race, Class, 1983)
Necropolitics (Achille Mbembe, 2003)

Optional:
Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil (Christen A. Smith, 2017)
Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Dorothy E. Roberts, 1997)
Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (Kim TallBear, 2013
An Act of Genocide: Colonialism and the Sterilization of Aboriginal Women (Karen Stote, 2015)
The Birth of Biopolitics (Michel Foucault, 1979)

107: African Diaspora Religions, Syncretism, and Church Hurt

Required:
Transcendent Kingdom (Yaa Gyasi, 2020)
Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith (Marla F. Frederick, 2003)

Optional:
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw, 2020)
The Myth of the Negro Past (Melville J. Herskovits, 1941)
Commandment Keeper Church in Beaufort, South Carolina (Zora Neale Hurston, 1940)
Creole religions of the Caribbean: An Introduction from Vodou and Santeria to Obeah and Espiritismo (Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Margarite Fernandez Olmos, 2011)

108: The Pitfalls of Black Liberalism

Required:
Mapping Gender in African-American Political Strategies (Leith Mullings, 2019)
Parable of the Sower (Octavia E. Butler, 1993)

Optional:
Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction (Manfred B. Steger & Ravi K. Roy, 2010)
The Book of Negroes/Someone Knows My Name (Lawrence Hill, 2007) (miniseries)
Life and Debt (Stephanie Black, 2001)

109: Colorism

Required:
If the Present Looks Like the Past, What Does the Future Look Like? (Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, 1983)

Optional:
Here Comes the Sun (Nicole Dennis-Benn, 2016)

110: Black Girl Magic

Required:
Black Girl Ordinary: Flesh, Carcerality, and the Refusal of Ethnography (Savannah Shange, 2019)
CaShawn (Black History Untold, n.d.)
For CaShawn Thompson, Black Girl Magic Was Always the Truth (Feminista Jones, 2019)

Optional:
Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (Saidiya Hartman, 1997)
Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book (Hortense Spillers, 1987)
Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Aimee Cox, 2015)
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (Monique W. Morris, 2016) [Feature length documentary]