Race and American Film

This course will examine the central role of popular culture in shaping our understandings of race through film. By studying race through film and film through race, this course provides an interdisciplinary look at how film fundamentally influenced and continues to shape American racial discourse, and how race fundamentally shaped the development of the medium of film in both form and content. After spending two weeks establishing a historical grounding of the history of racial representations in Hollywood, the remainder of our course will focus on more contemporary depictions of racial conflict. While focusing on Hollywood’s representations of African Americans, we will watch movies that consider the intersecting histories of American Indians, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans, colorblindness, and the “post-racial” on screen.