Beyonce and JAy-Z standing in front of the Mona Lisa

Unit 4: Black Venuses

Week 16: Sara Baartman (1798-1815), “Hottentot Venus”

Tues Feb 1 Controlling Black Bodies: the Black CodeThe Black Code (Louisiana Creoles) / French Colonial Politics. See the original document here; read the “Code Noir” (1685), translated by John Garrigus (p. 1-6).

William Renwick Riddell. “Le Code Noir.The Journal of Negro History, vol. 10, no. 3, 1925, pp. 321–329.

Hartman, Saidiya. “Venus in Two Acts.” Small Axe: a Journal of Criticism, 2008, Vol.12 (2), pp.1-14.

Optional reading:
Everett, Donald E. “Free Persons of Color in Colonial Louisiana.” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Winter, 1966), pp. 21-50.
Annotate with “Code Noir” translated by John Garrigus (p 1-6).

Pay attention to specific mention of Louisiana when you read Riddell; notes in your red notebook on this.

Post in the slack thread for this day: Think about connections between the “Code Noir” and the body. How are these two elements connected? What are the implications on the lives of the code’s subjects? What are the long term embodied experiences and the legacy of this code? Please inform your responses with your reading of William Renwick Riddell’s article.

Post in the second slack thread for this day: After Reading Hartman’s “Venus in Two Acts,” answer the following questions (please elaborate): who is (the) Black Venus(e)? Why is it so hard to tell her story? What are some strategies to try to tell her story? Please elaborate.
Thurs Feb 3 AMThe black body, exploitation and human dignityAbdellatif Kechiche: Black Venus. 2010. Paris: MK2. (2 hours 46 minutes)
Note: the movie contains graphic nudity, and physical and sexual violence.
Take notes in your redbook:

a) while watching the movie, about truth, facts, lies, representations, human dignity, the body;
b) please pay attention to and take a few notes on what the camera watches, or wants you to watch/see? Are there characters, places, various elements on which the camera insists or lingers?
c) please watch the credits of the movie. The director inserted some extra footage. Watch carefully and take notes: why is that footage present? To what end?

If reading a film closely is new for you, please see the how to watch a movie tips under the resources tab.
Tues Feb 3 PMThe black body, exploitation and human dignitySadiah Qureshi. “Displaying Sara Baartman, the ‘Hottentot Venus.’” London, England: SAGE Publications. History of Science, 2004-06, Vol.42 (2), p.233-257.

Sojourner Truth. “Ain’t I a woman?” June 21, 1851; Read both versions of the speech. You may listen to it if you’d like by clicking here.

Pascal Blanchard, Nicolas Bancel, and Sandrine Lemaire. “From Human Zoos to Colonial Apotheoses: the Era of Exhibiting the Other,Africultures (30 November 2001).
Prepare: both are equally important

1. Academic post in the slack channel on/about human dignity and how the texts you read address and engage with that issue? What about the lived and embodied experience of the black person?
2. Non-academic post in your redbook: in a few sentences, tell us about your visceral reaction to all we’ve discussed and seen. Tell us what you find disgusting, fascinating, embarrassing, uncomfortable. You will not post your responses in slack but please bring your redbook to class to discuss your thoughts about the despicable. This is a difficult exercise and conversation we must have.

Week 17: Josephine Baker: the First Black Superstar

Tues Feb 8 Josephine Baker: the First Black SuperstarArlisha R. Norwood’s very short biography of Josephine Baker at the National Museum of Women’s History site.

Joséphine Baker: The 1st Black Superstar. Forget About It Film & TV, for BBC Wales. 2006. Narrated by Josette Simon. Directed by Suzanne Phillips. (59 min.)

Optional reading:
Alicja Sowinska. “Dialectics of the Banana Skirt: The Ambiguities of Josephine Bakers’ Self-Representation.” Bodies: Physical and Abstract: vol 19, Fall 2005-Spring 2006.
Find: 2-3 pictures or drawings of Josephine Baker that you find iconic, in your redbook, write down the source, title and photographer/artist and explain what you see and why these images are iconic.

Post: in the slack channel for this day, comment on how Josephine Baker used her body. What was her agenda, if you can identify one? Please elaborate.
Thurs Feb 10 AM Josephine Baker: an icon in the negrophilia eraPetrine Archer-Straw. “Packaging the Primitive,” Negrophilia: Avant-garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s. p. 23-49.

Anne Anlin Cheng: “Ethical Looking,” Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface, pages 165-173.
Post in the slack channel for the day: According to what you have read, how is Josephine Baker body consumed by the white gaze? How/when does her body become visible? What does it mean for other black women’s bodies?
Thurs Feb 10 PMThe colonial agenda: dehumanizing the Black BodyRachel Anne Gillett “What Josephine Baker’s induction to the French Panthéon reveals — and obscures

Video: Josephine Baker enters France’s Pantheon

Optional Reading:
Fanon, Franz.“ The Fact of Blackness,” in Black Skin White Masks. New ed. London: Pluto Press. 2008. pp.82-108. (ebook); pdf of this chapter only in the readings folder.

Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review Press. 2000. pp. 29-78, ebook here. As a pdf in the readings folder.
Write: In light of what we have read, please explain in a few sentences in your redbook why it matters that Josephine Baker entered the Pantheon? What are some problems that remain?

Week 18: Beyoncé (September 4, 1981 – ), “Queen Bey”

Tues Feb 15 LemonadeLemonade
View, listen: Beyoncé. Lemonade. 2016. Watch it here. (65 min.)

Listen: Cole Kuchna. Dissect. “Lemonade.” Episode #1. (46 min.)

To listen to the Dissect podcast on Lemonade please visit iTunes or Spotify (here’s the link to episode 1 on spotify). Dissect podcast’s visual guide materials for Lemonade are here.
know the material; notes in your red notebooks as always.
Thurs Feb 17 AM Lemonade & Apeshit
Any 2 episodes of the Dissect podcast (approx. 2 hours)

Hartmann, Johanna. “Sound, Vision, and Embodied Performativity in Beyoncé Knowles’ Visual Album Lemonade (2016).” European journal of American studies, 12.4
Work: Take notes on the podcast episodes. With your partner, write up a 150-word summary, that you will present to your group during class.

Finale: with your section, you will work toward presenting the song which, in your concerted opinion best represents the theme of our course and should become the Humes theme song for 2022
Thurs Feb 17 PMAmandine Gay & Enrico Bartolucci: class visitAmandine Gay films-Speak Up and A Story of One’s Own
Monday February 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Hance; Wednesday February 16 at 7:00 in Hance

France 24: Filmmaker Amandine Gay and the politics of international adoption

Richard Brody: “Ouvrir la Voix”: A Radically Frank Documentary About the Experience of Black Women in France

bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman, “Black Women and Feminism”
Answer the following question in your redbook: In what ways does Amandine Gay’s work in Speak Up engage with bell hooks’ ideas in “Black Women and Feminism”?
+ Come up with 2 questions about the movies for our guests