Black Girl Magic: Black Female Literary Arts in 21st Century Contexts

Winter 2021
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
12 Credits per quarter
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“At nine, all I craved was to be ‘other’.”  –Patricia Smith

Black Girl Magic has gained much momentum in the last decade as an international social movement formed to “celebrate the beauty, power, and resilience of Black women.” However, the movement is also continuing the practice of participating in a dialogue that many African American women have invested in through their fiction, poetry, and nonfiction over the last two hundred years.

Black Girl Magic poems are a budding genre that explores the struggles of black womanhood. They create self-portraits that affirm or produce new images of acceptance and celebration. Why is this important to the literary cannon? How has history created situations where black women desire to be “other”? How do these literary self-portraits of black women strength the image of black women?  

This one quarter program will explore contemporary texts, both critical and creative, that contribute to the context of TheZora Canon. In this literary studies program, our exploration aims to identify the African American women’s literary tradition and see these texts within a scholarly framework. What are literary and feminist scholars saying about the tradition? This program emphasizes how The Zora Canon contributes to the larger cannons of African American literature and global women’s literature.

Program readings will include selections by: bell hooks, Tomi Adeyemi, Toni Morrison, Brittney C. Cooper, Saidiya Hartman, Kathleen Collins, Mahogany L. Brown, Jesymn Ward, as well as guest lecture with Simone Nicole Savannah, author of Uses of My Body (2020) and contributor to the acclaimed collection, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic (2018).

This program will be taught remotely. Students should have a device that provides them access to our Canvas site, including the Zoom and Big Blue Conference features. Students should anticipate participating in six (6) synchronized hours per week [M/T/W] with additional asynchronous tasks. There are four required texts for this program; all are available through the Greener Bookstore. Our approach will emphasize participation in synchronous (live) sessions; however, if students find themselves unable to participate due to technology, caregiving obligations, economic disruption, health risk, or illness, they can work with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related credit.


Winter 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (12): 20174
Fr (12): 20177

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