Constructing the New Black Man: Black Masculinities, Feminism, and Communal Empowerment


Fall 2016

Wednesdays, 6:30 - 8:00 pm, Keohane 4D 201

How is it that our social practices construct certain performances of gender? How do those perfomances, the product of relentless and pervasive socialization, inform a body's relationship to systemic power? How are the norms around gender performance and sexuality different in black communities, and why? How are black men (and black male students in particular) both overtly and covertly complicit in ther perpetuation of sexism and homophobia against their black peers? And how are these forms of oppression counterproductive to community building and black empowerment schema? College campuses are fascinating spaces for gender socialization, especially given the context of Duke as a predominately-white institution of higher learning amid culminating tensions around the stagnance of race relations on college campuses throughout America. These tensions necessitate spaces of empowerment and safety for black students immersed in the struggle of social reforms, spaces they often seek in their racial or ethnic communities. Subsequently, this course seeks to examine the intersectional nature of black students' identities, probing how students' experiences  of their communities of supposed racial empowerment. Often 'new racism(s)---' the sexism of misogy(noir), heteropatriarchy, queerphobia, etc., in these communities can mirror the kinds of oppression that whites maintain against blacks in America.To arrive at a better place, a growing community of 'new black men', this course hopes to bring clarity to black mens' often discombobulating experiences of masculinity in white spaces, while simutaneously promulgating more conscious ways of communal engagement around non-normative identites.

  • Henry Washington,
  • Mark Anthony Neal, African & African American Studies
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