Writing Seminars: Race and Radical Self-Love

The concept of self-love is saturated with personal, political and commercial value—self-care, self-esteem, self-indulge, self-defense, selfish. In her 1988 book of essays A Burst of Light, Audre Lorde famously wrote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” In this writing seminar, we examine how self-love is socially and politically constructed in ways that reflect experiences of race in the United States.  What role has self-care played in social resistance movements? What does it mean for people of color to love themselves in the face of institutionalized racial hatred? How do race and ethnicity shape our definitions of self-esteem and our capacities to possess it?  We will engage these questions through a variety of academic disciplines including cultural studies, music theory, political science, psychology, literary criticism, religion and philosophy.  In our era of commodified mindfulness, activist fatigue, the life-changing magic of tidying, minimalism, Oprah, Beyoncé and tea, when is the love of oneself radical?


Students who wish to enroll in this seminar should participate in online preregistration, which opens at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 23 and closes promptly at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 28, 2017.

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TTh 1:00pm-2:15pm