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    Massachusetts College of Art and Design
   
 
  Dec 17, 2017
 
 
    
Academic Catalog 2017-2018

LALW340 Black Cinema:American Myth, Racial Ideology and Hollywood 3cr.


“What is “”Black Cinema”“? How did “”Black Cinema”” originate? What gives “”Black Cinema”” a
distinct voice of its own? Must “”Black Cinema”” only be directed by African Americans, feature an
all Black cast, or only address a Black audience and “”Black issues”” in order to qualify as
“”Black Cinema”“? Should we differentiate between “”Black Cinema”” and “”Cinema”“? What are the
ethical, social and political implications central to making these distinctions? This course
examines those questions while chronicling the history and present state of “”Black
Cinema”“(from the early 20th century filmmaking of Oscar Micheaux; Blaxploitation films of Gordon
Parks and Melvin Van Peebles; fiction films by Charles Burnett, Spike Lee, Lee Daniels, Steve
McQueen and Dee Rees; documentaries by Marlon Riggs, Stanley Nelson and June Cross; as well as
animation films made for TV and media streamed online). Despite the contributions to cinema by
these distinguished people of African descent, there remains a significant need for Black cinema
studies within the broader areas of Africana Studies in the US and abroad. For these reasons,
this course explores how Black authorship, content and reception have been defined and
reconsidered in relation to dominant American myths, racial ideology and film industry
practices, that have long presented limited and distorted social and political constructs of
African Americans and the African Diaspora in cinema. This course challenges those portrayals
and assumptions through thoughtful inquiries into the intricate modes of racial coding of moving
images.

Prerequisites: LALW-100 & FRSM-100

Fall Only