Feb 02, 2023  
2023 January Term Course Catalog 
2023 January Term Course Catalog
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JAN 135 - The African-American Experience Through Films

Upper division
Full credit
MTuWTh, 4:00 PM - 6:35 PM


Historical and contemporary representations of African Americans in film can often present contradictions and controversies. From D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, African American identity in films has been formed and fractured both by the complicated historical perspectives both within and outside the African American community. Also contributing to these often-time problematic representations, are those in control of the larger industrial-creative system of Hollywood/American filmmaking. This class will discuss all aspects of representation including actors, producers, directors, marketing strategies, & corporate sponsorship.

This course is an exploration of the history and consequences surrounding images of African Americans in American cinema. Through shared inquiry, applied learning, foundational readings, the viewing of feature-length films, and insightful and lively class discussions, you will understand, critique, and come to your own perceptions of what constitutes valid, positive or negative media representations. As such, you will grapple with questions like What are the origins of stereotypical depictions and biased representations? And how have they changed over time? What do films that depict African Americas say about the state of race relations at this time or at the time of their production? How have African American depictions impacted cultural, economic, social, and political thought? What are some intended and unintended consequences of depicting a cultural group in the current manner?


Core Designation: American Diversity

Instructor(s): Calvin Monroe
Email:  ctm7@stmarys-ca.edu

Prerequisites & Notes
Prerequisites:  SEM 001 or SEM 102, ENG 4
Course Fee:  20

Credits: 1

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