The Black Death Project

How do we render and receive stories of death and violence in black communities?  Cathy Cohen (University of Chicago, Political Science), film producer and director Orlando Bagwell, and sculptor Garland Taylor develop a project that investigates how representations of blackness, death and violence are reflected in and refracted by neoliberalism and new media.

The Politics and Art of Black Death
Offered through the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (CRES 27404/37404) and cross-listed in Departments of Political Science (PLSC 26501/36501), Visual Arts (ARTV 27404/37404), and Cinema and Media Studies (CMST 21002/31002).

Mondays 9:30a-12:20p in the Gray Center Lab, Midway Studios

Today the issue of violence in and against black communities seems ever-present.  It is hard to live in black communities in the city of Chicago and not be confronted with the notion of violence and death. Whether it is the death of young black individuals such as Hadiya Pendelton, Derrion Albert, and Blair Holt or the hundreds of unnamed young black and Latino youth killed largely on Chicago’s south and west sides, there is a way in which the city seems to intimately link brown and black people to death and violence. This course will interrogate the topic of black and brown death and violence, with a focus on the politics, art, and other representations of black death. This interdisciplinary seminar is offered in conjunction with a larger collaborative project being carried out by political scientist CATHY COHEN, filmmaker ORLANDO BAGWELL and sculptor GARLAND MARTIN TAYLOR. We anticipate involving members of impacted communities and guest speakers in course meetings as well as holding some classes off-site in different neighborhoods and venues.  In conjunction with the course, Garland Taylor will begin construction of a large scale interactive sculpture in the Gray Center Lab, and Cathy Cohen will curate a series of workshops with invited guests at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.  Students will be required to attend these workshops.