HC444H/421H - Black Cinema & Social Change

Professor: Artel Great

4.00 credits

  • CRN 22301: Thursday, 5:00pm-7:50pm @ Remote Synchronous

Graduation Requirement:  This class will fulfill an Arts and Letters Colloquium and the US: Difference, Inequality, Agency (US) cultural literacy requirement.  If the student has already taken an Arts and Letters Colloquium, this class will fulfill both of the following requirements: an Elective Colloquium and US cultural literacy.

This course actively explores the hidden histories of Black cinema in the United States. Since the very beginning of motion pictures, the film industry has generated a catalog of tropes, caricatures, and grotesque depictions that have relegated Black bodies to the margins of the film frame. Despite these constraints, Black filmmakers have managed to forge major innovations in the cinematic arts for nearly 127-years. This course analyzes a range of feature films, both documentary and narrative, that highlight the intellectual history, aesthetic practices, and cultural politics of Black-American cinema, examining how these films have managed to forecast, initiate, and visualize social change in a wide variety of contexts from Black silent era films to Blaxploitation, the L.A. Rebellion, and beyond. This process will help students identify and dislodge the myths that movies have historically circulated about how race and cinema have evolved in this country. Through film screenings, close readings, and critical discussions, students will gain a foundational knowledge of important films by pioneering Black directors, as well as activate deeper analyses of Black cinema's engagement with movements for social justice.

This course is offered through the CHC's Visiting Fellowship in Equity, Justice, and Inclusion program, through which award-winning teachers and scholars from around the country offer unique courses that enrich the CHC's curricular offerings related to social justice. The inaugural theme for 2021-23 is the Black Experience in the United States. Learn more about the CHC's Visiting Fellowship program

Visiting Fellow Artel Great is Assistant Professor and George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in African American Cinema Studies at San Francisco State University. Learn more about Professor Great.

This course will be offered in an online synchronous format (i.e., over Zoom).