Afro-American and African Diaspora Studies | Special Topics In Afro-American Studies: The Films of Spike Lee
A590 | 28507 | Karen Bowdre
Since his debut film She’s Gotta Have It (1986), Spike Lee has been
considered one of the leading figures in Black independent cinema.
Though Lee and his films are often deemed controversial, he has
established an extensive and diverse body of work in the past twenty
years. Lee’s oeuvre includes feature films, documentaries, concert
films, television programs, commercials, and music videos.
In this seminar, we will examine the debates surrounding auteur
theory, briefly review the history of Black independent cinema, and
consider the processes involved in the production of visual media
that complicate the notion of authorship. We will analyze Lee’s work
through the following lenses: issues of authorship and genre, his
position within Black independent cinema, his persona and its
relationship to the promotion of his films and the topics his films
address. In our analysis of Lee’s media, we will probe the subjects
of race, class, gender, sexuality, and representation.