Blackness, Fugitivity, and Visual Culture (MS4108.01)

Keisha Knight

This course explores the ways in which visual culture in the United States has mobilized Blackness and fugitivity for the purposes of both liberation and capture.  Starting in the 19th century we will trace the abstraction and the materiality of Blackness and fugitivity through print, photography, and film ending in the vortex of the digital. Our inquiry will be broad bringing us in contact with Fugitive Slave Advertisements, abolitionist culture and figures like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, through Blaxploitation films, and into the more contemporary media/art milieu of filmmakers and artists like John Akomfrah, Cauleen Smith, the Otolith Group and American Artist.

Learning Outcomes:
Students will engage with interdisciplinary constellations of theory (cultural techniques, African American studies, and visual culture).
Students will develop writing and critical thinking skills as well as developing strategies for approaching visual culture critically and infrastructurally.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Prior coursework in Media Studies, or a course taken with the instructor. Please contact Keisha Knight ( for more information.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , Media Studies