History | African History and Film
J300 | 6875 | Moorman
A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class COLL intensive writing section
Above class open to undergraduates only
The art of film and the practice of colonialism were born at the
same time. In this course we study how film has represented African
history and been implicated in it. On the one hand, Hollywood films
have played a large role in representing and, some would argue,
misrepresenting Africa and African history. On the other, film was
used both to promote the colonial project and to undermine it and
film production was important in newly independent countries across
the continent from the 1960s onward. Filmmakers from the African
diaspora have been particularly important in this process as well.
The majority of films screened in the course are produced by
filmmakers from the continent or the African diaspora.
We will study these films to learn about interrogate African history
in the 19th and 20th centuries. Questions we will consider include:
What has been the relationship between film and colonization? Film
and decolonization? What happens to history when it is represented
on film? When are filmmakers making arguments about history and
when are they using history to make art? To what extent are our
imaginations about Africa and African history shaped by the images
we have seen?
This is a writing intensive course in which students will be
required to read and write weekly (short writing assignments,
revisions, peer reviews and final 10-15 page paper). Several times
during the semester we will have screenings scheduled outside of
class time and films will also be on reserve in the Wells Library
for student viewing.