UM Social Formation Reflection

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bell hooks, a prominent Black feminist theorist, activist, writer, and public intellectual, asks us to think about the “margins” of a social formation (or society) as important sites of knowledge production and new ways of being–and (potentially) being liberated) in the world.

  1. Where in the text do you see her making this argument? Where in the text do you see her suggesting that “the margins” are powerful sites of resistance to dominant discourses and the systems of power that produce marginalization? How might “literature” or literary forms act as forms of resistance? Can you think of examples?
  2. How would you connect her writing to Nikky Finney’s acceptance speech or to Amiri Baraka’s performance poem you watched for this week? 
  3. Finally, what about your own life and experience influences your understanding of hook’s text? (This answer should be approximately 5-8 sentences.) 
  4. Nikky Finney, acceptance speech from National Book Award, available here: Finney speech 
  5. Please also watch Amiri Baraka’s performance poem entitled “Why is We Americans” 
  6. part 2 
  7. Watch the following two introduction videos I’ve created for talking about Sula. (I’m posting some resources for more information and history below.) Sula Introduction Video 1Links to an external site.Sula Introduction Video 2Links to an external site.In addition to the brief videos above, I recommend that you watch or read some of the following resources about anti-Black violence in the period the novel takes place–which we might date from Eva’s statement, “[. . .] 1895 was a killer, girl” to the 1970s (the present tense of the novel’s opening pages)–or in the broader period from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Era as it is commonly understood. They may also be helpful for thinking about how issues like labor and class, race and gender are intertwined in people’s lives (and in the text). **PLEASE NOTE** Some of these materials include graphic and gruesome imagery and descriptions of violence. Facing History and Ourselves, “Reconstruction and the Meaning of FreedomLinks to an external site.,” video, last updated April 14, 2022. With Professors George Lipsitz and Hasan Kwame Jeffries. Facing History and Ourselves, “The Origins of Lynching Culture in the United StatesLinks to an external site.,” video, last updated April 18, 2022. With Professor Paula Giddings. Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, Equal Justice Initiative Report and web resources: to an external site.Red Summers, “A 360 video series with artist Bayeté Ross Smith on the untold American history of racial terrorism from 1917 to 1921.” Guardian UK, available here: to an external site.Part Two
    Create one post naming at least one thing you learned from the materials above, and then share 1-2 questions you have based on any of these materials.

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