Saturday, May 24, 2014

From Afrofuturism to Rap Genius: a timeline

This past semester, I taught a literature course entitled "Becoming a Rap Genius," the first course devoted solely to the RG crowd-sourced annotation site. Teaching that particular course emerged from working with Afrofuturism over the years.

More than a decade ago,  Alondra Nelson mentioned to me in passing that she had started a discussion group on race and technology. Who would've known back then that the lessons I learned from her and that group would have led me to teaching a course on Rap Genius? 

What follows are a list of events, publications leading up to the RG course.

1998: Alondra Nelson creates Afrofuturism (AF) listserv.
1998: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead published on Dec. 29. Most bibliographies cite 1999 as pub date.
2001: I begin participating on Nelson's AF listserv.  
2002: Afrofuturism: A Special Issue of Social Text ed. by Alondra Nelson is published.  
2003: I begin teaching American and African American Literature at SIUE in Fall. 
2004: I begin assigning Nelson's article "Afrofuturism: Past-Future Visions" in my Af-Am lit courses. 
2006: My article “Colossal Visions: Colson Whitehead and Afrofuturism” appears in Sou'wester.
2006: In the Fall, I offer a literature course on "Afrofuturism and speculative fiction."  
2008: In the Fall, I offer a literature course on "Afrofuturism, folklore, and black poetry" (and again in 2012, 2013).
2010: In June, I offer a unit on AF at the African American Literatures & Cultures Institute (AALCI) in Texas.
2010: In July, at an NEH institute on Richard Wright, I meet Jeremy Dean, who was then a grad student.
2011: In June, Nelson participates in a tweet-session about race and technology with AALCI Fellows.  
2011: Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination by A. Nelson is published in October.
2011: Zone One by Colson Whitehead is published in October.
2012: "A Psychotronic Childhood Learning from B-movies" by Colson Whitehead appears in The New Yorker in June.
2012: My younger brother Kenton prompts me to create a Rap Genius account in November. 
2012: In December, I began blogging about my experiences utilizing RG and created a notebook on the topic. 
2013: In early June, I coordinated RG activities for the AALCI.  
2013: While in NYC in late June, Jeremy Dean, chief of education at RG, invites me to attend a gathering of educators at RG headquarters in Brooklyn.   
2013: Jeremy Dean includes me in RG Educators forum.
2013: In October, I published an annotated "Timeline of African American Poetry, 1854 - 2013" on Poetry Genius.
2013: My article “OutKast, the Funk Connection, and Afrofuturism” appears in American Studies.
2013: With encouragement from Jeremy Dean, I decide to teach a course on RG for Spring 2014. 
2013: I began circulating announcements about the upcoming "Becoming a Rap Genius" course.
2013: I interviewed Austin Allen, Poetry Editor for Poetry Genius.
2014: Taught course "Becoming a Rap Genius."
2014: Published piece "Becoming a Rap and Poetry Genius Teacher" and later here on RG.

Becoming a Rap Genius: Resources

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