Spring 2017

Bad Black Women

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-377  |  English, as ENGL-368  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-329


Aneeka A. Henderson (Section 01)


(Offered as SWAG 329, BLST 377 [US], and ENGL 368.) History has long valorized passive, obedient, and long-suffering black women alongside aggressive and outspoken black male leaders and activists.  This course provides an alternative narrative to this misrepresentation, as we will explore how “bad” is defined by one’s race, gender, class, and sexuality as well as how black women have transgressed the boundaries of what it means to be “good” in U.S. society. We will use an interdisciplinary perspective to examine why black women have used covert and explicit maneuvers to challenge the stereotypical “respectable” or “good” black woman and the various risks and rewards they incur for their “deviance.” Students should be aware that part of this course is “immersive” and consequently, students will participate in a master class that will explore how dance operates as a way to defy race, class, and gender norms.

Open to first-year students with consent of the instructor. Priority given to students who attend the first day of class. Writing Attentive. Limited to 18 students.  Expectations include a master dance class, three writing projects, a group presentation, and various in-class assignments. Spring semester. Professor Henderson.

If Overenrolled: Priority given to students who attend the first day of class.

Cost: $100 ?

SWAG 329 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 01:00 PM - 02:20 PM WEBS 219
Th 01:00 PM - 02:20 PM WEBS 219

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Sula Random House Toni Morrison Amherst Books TBD
The Living Is Easy Feminist Press Dorothy West Amherst Books TBD
The Street: A Novel Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Ann Petry Amherst Books TBD
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Crossing Press Audre Lorde Amherst Books TBD
Avie's Dreams: An Afro-Feminist Coloring Book Feminist Press Makeda Lewis Amherst Books TBD
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf Simon & Schuster Ntozake Shange Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021