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IDSEMUG 2038 - African American Cinema and the Stakes of Representation

The history of filmmaking by African Americans provides a window on sociological conditions, a glimpse into the psychology of race, a commentary on racial relations, and a sense of African American aspirations and dreams throughout this period. In this sophomore and junior-only course, we willbegin with the period of “Race” films in the 1920s, moving on to the representation of African Americans during the classical Hollywood period. African American participation in the First and Second World Wars prompted successive civil rights movementsthat greatly affected the ways in which African Americans wereperceived in American Society and portrayed in popular culture. Successive artisticand political movements like the Harlem Renaissance of the 20s and the Black Arts and Black Power Movements of the 1960s expanded African American expression in all of the arts, and were an inspiration to Black auteurs throughout the 20th Century. In the second part of the semester we will examine Black independent filmmaking, Blaxploitation, the new African American Cinema of the 90s and the beginning of mainstream Black film in the 21st Century. We will frame our inquiry by asking some central questions: How docurrents in African American intellectual history inform films created by African-American filmmakers? How does the historical context surrounding the production of the films shape them? Filmmakers include, Oscar Micheaux, Cheryl Dunye, Spike Lee,Charles Burnett, and Julie Dash. Class Notes: Open to sophomores and juniors only. Add Consent: Department Consent Required. Enrollment Requirements: Restriction for IDSEM-UG BLANK.
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