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PWR 194AJB: Rhetoric and Black Digital Cultures from BP (BlackPlanet) to AI

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What does it mean to be human when more and more of our lives are connected to digital technologies and to large data sets? How are Black people around the world negotiating what it means to be Black—and in relation to each other—in this moment?

This course will examine Black engagements with digital culture as sites for community building, social action and individual and collective identity formation. By studying phenomena like #BlackTwitter, memes, GIFs, Vine, TikTok, selfie culture, blogging and more, we will explore how Black technology use addresses questions like identity performance and expression, the importance of Black joy in an era of continual trauma, advocacy and activism, hyper visibility and invisibility of Black lives, Black feminisms, misogynoir and Black women/femme leadership in social movements, the roles and influence of Black Queer cultures online, and social activism and movements in online spaces. 

From broad intra-community conversations and advocacy campaigns to specific apps, platforms and rhetorical practices, we will work from the serious to the silly, from individuals to collectives, from activism to everyday life, and from distinct Black cultures to diasporic connections and exchange.

Units: 4

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP) 

Prerequisite: PWR 1 or equivalent

Course Feature: Cultural Rhetorics track; WAYS AII; WAYS ED; Crosslisted with AFRICAAM 389C, CSRE 385, EDUC 389C

This course does not fulfill the WR-1 or WR-2 requirement