Assistant Professor of Diasporic Youth Cultures
This course explores narratives of black girlhood from the nineteenth century to our contemporary moment. Students will analyze black girlhood through a diverse collection of sources including young adult literature, street lit, personal narratives, and recent scholarship in Black Girlhood Studies. We will consider the following questions: How do the intersections of race, class, gender, and geography impact the ways we understand girlhood? How have black girls defined girlhood and the transition from black girl to black woman? How do representations of black girlhood challenge dominant conceptualizations of American childhood and young adulthood? To answer these questions, students will examine the racialization of girlhood, the criminalization of black girls, sexual literacy, youth activism, education, and black girls in social media and hip-hop culture. Some of the texts we will engage include The Coldest Winter Ever (Sister Souljah) and Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (Monique Morris).
Each culture defines childhood according to their own values and beliefs. These definitions of childhood change over time. Since the nineteenth century, racial ideologies have shaped dominant conceptualizations of childhood in the U.S. In this course, students will examine the history of race and childhood. The guiding questions of the course include: How do racial ideologies affect the concepts of childhood, dependency, and age? How have defining historical moments in race relations such as U.S. slavery, the Brown vs. Board of Education case, and the Black Lives Matter movement influenced conceptualizations of the "American child" and "American childhood"? To answer these questions, we will engage scholarship in the History of Childhood and Youth Studies alongside representations and analyses of "American childhood" in literature and sociology. Placing history in conversation with literature and sociology is essential for exposing students to diverse interpretations of the interrelationship of race and childhood.