This seminar will frame the idea of black film as a visual negotiation between film as art and the discursivity of race, rather than black film as a demographic, or a genre, or a reflection of the black experience, or something bound by a representational politics of positive and negative stereotypes. Black film will be critically considered as an interdisciplinary practice that enacts a distinct visual and expressive culture alongside literature, music, art, photography, and new media. Students will consider new paradigms for genre, narrative, aesthetics, historiography, and intertextuality within this overarching concept of black film.
Sample reading list:
Spike Lee, Passing Strange
Charles Burnett, Killer of Sheep
Michel Gondry, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
Julia Dash, Illusions
Terrance Nance, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
Ayoka Chenzira, Hairpiece
Students lead class discussions and write five prompt questions per week, produce a Final Paper proposal with annotated bibliography, make an in-class presentation of their final paper, submit a final paper.
This course will include multiple in-class visiting filmmakers as well as a public screening series. Grading: 20% Participation = Prompt arrival to class, respectful treatment of facilities, and attendance at extracurricular events.