Scribner Seminar Program
Blacks in Film
Instructor(s): Joshua C. Woodfork, Assistant Professor of American Studies
What are the most memorable images of blacks in film? How have these images changed over time? Images in film reflect social trends. We learn a great deal about the African-American experience—which includes racism, gender relations, intra-group color dynamics, and passing—by investigating the various representations of blacks in film. In this seminar, students will examine these questions, while additionally exploring the controlling images of blacks in film, including Uncle Tom, Mammy, Coon, Buck, Tragic Mulatto, Jezebel, Sapphire, Aunt Jemima and Black Sambo. Through the lens of visual analysis, students will develop the skills necessary to critically analyze constructions of black identity. Readings and exercises involving intersectional analysis will help students unpack the power and problematic nature of stereotypes.