Colloquium in Black Speculative Fiction Syllabus

Being that I am a scholar most interested in Black Speculative Fiction and how it helps with education and individuation (identity formation), I jumped at the chance to to teach other people about it. Here are excerpts from a syllabus I developed for Fall 2017 on teaching Black Speculative Fiction in the form of a junior-level English class. I don't mind anyone taking a look at or sharing my syllabus, but do know that this (like everything else on this site) is of MY CREATION, so if you use it, CITE ME!

Course Description

Using Black Speculative Fiction as a theme, this class will introduce students to Black Speculative Fiction as the collection of genres and subgenres that force its audience(s) to imagine (or speculate) on possibilities that do not fit within their understanding of the world. We will discuss how Black Speculative Fiction fits into the greater Black Speculative Arts Movement and the study of Black consciousness and art forms. This is a reading intensive course designed to use a Black Speculative lens to critique our limited and often anti-Black worldview(s) through science fiction, fantasy, horror, and (alternate) history.  

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

 

Students in this class will:

1. Understand the basics of Black Speculative Fiction and its education and individuation based value.

2. Closely read and discuss various works of Black Speculative Fiction and recognize the elements of the Black Speculative in other texts.

3. Understand and critique the limited ways that Blackness is portrayed in genre fiction.

4. Pinpoint major eras of history and Black thought according to Black Speculative Fiction.

 

Upon completion, students will be able to:

1.  Analyze written and visual texts using a Black Speculative lens.

2.  Connect pieces of Black Speculative Fiction to the greater Black Speculative Arts Movement.

3.  Critically challenge commonly held understandings of Black culture and life.

4.  Understand how Black Speculative Fiction is used to imagine, inform, and inspire greater understandings of polylithic Blackness.  

 

Course Schedule

SECTION 1: THE BEGINNING

Week 1 (8/16-8/18)

Wednesday = Class Introductions & Diagnostic (What Drew You to this Class?)

Friday = Syllabus Discussion (What Have I Gotten Myself Into?)

Week 2 (8/21-8/25)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "Black Speculative Fiction Definitions" (What IS Black Speculative Fiction?)

Wednesday = Continue Discussion of Terms (You Mean There's MORE?!)

SECTION 2: SCIENCE FICTION

Friday = Read and Discuss: "Why Blacks Should Read (and Write) Science Fiction" by Charles R. Saunders & "Black to the Future" by Walter Mosley (Why Does Science Fiction Matter?)

Week 3 (8/28-9/1)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "The Evening and the Morning and the Night," by Octavia Butler (Meeting the Mother)

Wednesday = Assignment Discussion (It's the Future You Can See)

Friday =  Read and Discuss: "The Comet" by W.E.B. DuBois. (What's That In the Sky?)

Week 4 (9/4-9/8)

Monday = NO CLASS (Enjoy Labor Day and/or Dragoncon!)

Wednesday = Read and Discuss: "Like Daughter" by Tananarive Due (Seeing Double)

Friday = Watch and Discuss Pumzi (What's Gonna Happen to Us?)

Section 2 Quiz & Response Paper (if Chosen) Due September 10th at 11:59pm

SECTION 3: FANTASY

This is the book for this section

This is the book for this section

Week 5 (9/11-9/15)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "Sweet Sweet Fantasy". Watch and Discuss Static Shock. (Who Gets to Be a Hero?)

Wednesday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 1-23 (Welcome to Colorius)

Friday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 24-43 (Meet the Elementals)

Week 6 (9/18-9/22)

Monday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 44-78 (The Rise (and Fall) of Our Heroes)

Wednesday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 79-104 (Escape from the Underground)

Friday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 105-123 (On Our Own)

Week 7 (9/25-9/29)

Monday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 124-155 (Triumph!)

Wednesday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 156-170 (New Resolve)

Friday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 171-183 (Divided)

Week 8 (10/2-10/6)

Monday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 184-215 (Getting the Band Back Together)

Wednesday = Read and Discuss: Legend of the Orange Scepter pgs. 216-243 (The End of a Journey)

Friday = Read and Discuss: Before the Storm & Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (Where My Girls At?)

Section 3 Quiz & Response Paper (if Chosen) Due October 8th at 11:59pm

SECTION 4: HORROR

This is the book for this section

This is the book for this section

Week 9 (10/9-10/13)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "The Black Death: A Brief History of Black People Dying in Horror Movies" & "Will It Get Better for Black People in the Horror Genre?". (DON'T GO IN THERE!)

Wednesday = Read and Discuss: "Scab" by Wrath James Wright (Even Our Childhood is Scary)

Friday = NO CLASS (It's Quiet...too Quiet)

Week 10 (10/16-10/20)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "The Taken" by Tenea Johnson & "Mr. Bones" by Christopher Chambers. Begin Watching: Tales From the Hood (Our Fears: Our Stories)

Wednesday = Continue Watching: Tales From the Hood (Society Made Scary)

Friday = Finish Watching and Discuss: Tales From the Hood (Take Your (Second) Chances)

Week 11 (10/23-10/27)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "Are You My Daddy?" by Lexi Davis (Funny but Freaky)

Wednesday = Discussing Black Horror with Guest Speaker: Brandon Massey (The Creepy Voice)

Friday = Read and Discuss: "Wet Pain" by Terence Taylor (__ Doesn't Care About Black People)

Week 12 (10/30-11/3)

Monday = Begin Watching: Get Out (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters!)

Wednesday = Continue Watching: Get Out (This is Some Scary...!)

Friday = Finish Watching and Discuss: Get Out (Listen To Your Ancestors)

Section 4 Quiz & Response Paper (if Chosen) Due November 5th at 11:59pm

SECTION 5: (ALTERNATE) HISTORY

This is the book for this section

This is the book for this section

Week 13 (11/6-11/10)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "The Soul in the Sword" by Charles R. Saunders & "A Gathering at the Meeting Tree" by Milton J. Davis. (Sankofa)

Wednesday = Discuss Blaxploitation and Dieselfunk genres (We Got the Funk) 

Friday = Discussion of the final analysis paper. (Legends of ANALYSIS)

Week 14 (11/13-11/17)

Monday = Read and Discuss: "Of Legends and Young'uns: Black Gay Men across Generations. (excerpt)". Watch and Discuss: T'Ain't Nobody's Business: Queer Black Divas of the 1920s (Before the Closet) 

Wednesday = Discuss Rococoa and Steamfunk genres (Steamy Oceans)

Friday = Read and Discuss: "Mrembo Aliyenaswa" by Milton J. Davis. Discussing African-centered history with Milton Davis (Meeting the Man)

Week 15 (11/20-11/24)

Thanksgiving Break (Give Thanks for Your Histories)

Week 16 (11/27-11/29)

Monday = Class Wrap-Up (So Whatcha Writing?)

Wednesday = Class Wrap-Up (All Good Things Must Come to An End)

Section 5 Quiz & Response Paper (if Chosen) Due December 3rd at 11:59pm

Final Exams Due by December 8th at 11:59pm