Blog Post Week 3

One of my favorite parts of this course is the interactivity and collaboration that is encouraged in our class discussions, as well as within these blog posts. These interactive environments allow us to easily share ideas with one another and be creative in doing so, which greatly enhances the learning process and understanding of the material. Additionally, by design this collaborative approach exposes us to perspectives other than our own, which can not only help to deepen our understanding of a given topic, but can also help to deepen our understanding of each other. I feel that this skill is very useful and can be applicable to many different contexts.

I also found some of the ideas in the Snead article to be very intriguing. Specifically, the quote that we discussed in class, “transformation is culture’s response to it’s own apprehension of repetition”, was very interesting to me. I feel that what Snead is trying to say is that while most would like to deny it, repetition of the past is inevitable in certain domains of culture.  The reasons for this phenomena lie within the necessity for people to have recognizablility, and the fact that culture is not a reservoir of “inexhaustible novelty”. I find this most interesting because I see a clear application to today’s political climate in many ways, as the increasing divisiveness and cultural shifts that we are experiencing are not novel to this time period, but rather a “transformation” of the past.

Responding to “Why Am I ‘Here’?”

Original Post: Why Am I “Here”? By Ashley Daddona

This post intrigued me as it essentially is a response to my question that I proposed in class.

I found Daddona’s comparison very interesting. Comparing Jemisin’s world to an amusement park is brilliant and it makes perfect sense the way Daddona explains it. Where do you begin in an amusement park? Where do you begin in Jemisin’s world? Both start at the entrance with no guidance.

True, it is as you(Daddona) said that we only have a general idea of Jemisin’s world because she based it on Earth.  Same for the variations of amusement parks such as SixFlags or Disney World. Jemisin runs you through like a roller coaster ride that you wait in line for. You won’t know if you like the ride until you actually got on it, right? So, after you’re in for the ride, you can decide whether you like it or not. Of course, you’re bound to not like every ride you got on, just like how you won’t like every chapter Jemisin compiled in a specific order. However, in the end, it’s an experience whether you liked it or not and when you had finally tried out all the rides— you know which one gave you the most thrill and excitement. Just because you haven’t got to one that you like yet, doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. Just going through the first couple rides of Jemisin’s world is not a good verdict to base on.

After reading through Jemisin’s novel and after going through all your rides, then with that understanding, you can rate the overall experience of Jemisin’s world— or the amusement park, as Daddona put it.

Why Am I “Here”?

I began thinking about our class discussion that we had on September 10th about the meaning behind Jemisin’s choice of titling the prologue of The Fifth Season as “you are here”.  Someone made the comment (and I apologize, I can’t remember who said this, but if it was you please let me know so I can credit you!) that Jemisin forced us to start “here” in the novel, leaving us to piece things together to uncover meaning, and get a sense of the beginning of the story on our own, since we essentially started in the middle of everything.

Continue reading “Why Am I “Here”?”

Emotions and Feelings

If you have the time, I enourage you watch this amazing TEDx video:

This is post will be based on the connection of this Ted Talk video and Jemisin’s novel The Fifth Season.

Emotions and feelings are what makes us humans, human. Could you imagine what the world would be like if everybody didn’t have them? It would be very hard to convey and express ourselves in any way for anyone to understand; breaking the link to individuality. This unique possession is what enables us to find the motivation, will, inspiration, and drive in life for why we do what we do. In N.K Jemisin’s first piece of The Broken Earth Series, The Fifth Season, characters with seismic abilities causes havoc not by choice but by coercion through unpleasant, intangible feelings and emotions. Continue reading “Emotions and Feelings”

Blog Post Week 3

What has really interested me in this class is analyzing afrofuturism in different mediums; not just literature. I like that we watch clips of Black Panther and talk about the artistic choices made to portray afrofuturism and the effect it has.

Another thing that has interested me is reading texts that are quite challenging. It is had to come across classes that assign texts written by authors/poets of color. Continue reading “Blog Post Week 3”

Music and Afrofuturism

A part of this class that has really interested me is music’s role in Afrofuturism. Before this class, all of my knowledge about Afrofuturism centered around Black Panther. The assertion that Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae could be an Afrofuturist text was extremely intriguing to me. I started to explore this further and found tons of videos and interviews that  Monae has been a part of where she talks about her role as an Afrofuturist artist. My favorite anecdote from one of these interviews is when Monae tells the interviewer from Rolling Stone, “But I only date androids. Nothing like an android — they don’t cheat on you.” As I moved past Monae and moved on to researching Afrofuturist music as a whole, I was surprised to see an article from the BBC entitled “8 afrofuturist classics everyone needs to hear.” I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of the movement before registering for this class, but there were “classics.” I was admittedly embarrassed. In any event, music’s role in the movement pairs ideology with the personas these musicians take on stage, the lyrics that they write, and the clothes that they wear. It is interesting to see how the movement manifests itself.

My Perception of Culture

James Snead’s Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture (1984) changed my perception of culture and its development through time. Prior to reading this piece, I believed that culture was static in its improvements – that culture did not necessarily change but people did instead. When Snead claims that cultural repetition is not repetition at all but transformation instead (59), I (of course) made the connection to Black Panther (2018). One of the first images we examined in class was a still of the marketplace with futuristic buildings in the background (33:20) and it struck me as I had never noticed the cultural fusion they had built. I remember thinking of survivance, a term used in Native American studies and refers to the importance of survival and resistance during the Native American genocide. Wakanda survived due to the initiative that past leaders took after observing the grief in surrounding countries, closing their borders, and hiding their most precious resources. These actions also curbed outside cultural influence, thus further sealing the already established traditions and rituals in a nice, vibranium-filled package. Overall, this class has piqued my interest because it is making me reevaluate my stance on cultural discussions and has invigorated a passion for asking more questions about why things are the way they are.
l Continue reading “My Perception of Culture”

The appropriation of black repetition

General understandings of time tend generally, but wrongly, to conflate change with progress. In Snead’s writing, however, he parses out the implications of repetition and change, particularly along the black/white racial distinction, in such a way that challenges an oversimplified, direct relationship between change and progress. Most effectively, Snead advocates that changes does not necessarily indicate progress, and, instead links black repetition with historical value, as opposed to white change/cultural cycles with capitalist values: “Black culture highlights the observance of such repetition, often in homage to an original generative instance or act … In European culture, financial and production cycles have largely supplanted the conscious sort of natural return in black culture,” (65-66). With these statements, Snead, whether intentionally or not, sheds light on the problem of white folks appropriating and coopting black culture, without understanding its resonance or implications. For the purposes of Snead’s argument, black and white cultures essentially function in a condition of opposites: black culture preserves the past, and white culture generates revenue for the future. When broken down this way, Snead’s thesis makes it obvious why the appropriation of repetitious black culture by people who don’t understand the “homage to an original .. act” essentially robs cultural elements of anything but their pure aesthetic value (65).

I believe that it was really powerful when W.E.B DuBois wrote, “he wouldn’t bleach his negro blood in a flood of white Americanism… He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both.” Although he understands the history and the struggle being black in America comes with, he embraces where he comes from and who he is. While at the same time, it is important for him to acknowledge and still embrace his American culture. However being both black and American is hard not to separate because of all the challenges African Americans have to face. This quote reminds me of the movie Black Panther because one can see the contrast between the Wakandans ( who were her colonized ) and Erik Killmonger ( who grew up being black in America facing racism, ect.) I feel like that quote connects to the black panther movie because of how Killmonger embraces both his ” negro blood ” and being American. We see this in the way he takes the throne and how different he is from the black panther, who is much more traditional.