Two I&S/ VLPA courses with potential W credit C Lit 497A and C Lit 303A

C Lit 497 – Documentary Cinema SPR Q SLN 11729 MLR 316 – T/R 3:30-5:20p

C Lit 303 – Black Contemporary Cinemas SPR Q SLN 11716 T/R 1:30 – 3:20p

Both C Lit 303 and C Lit 497 are open to AIS, AES, CHID, ENGL, GWSS, DRAMA and C Lit students during Period 1 registration as well as students in performance studies. Add codes are also possible to obtain during Period 1.
No prior film analysis knowledge is necessary.

C Lit 303 runs 4 days/ week with M/W for screening and T/Th for lecture.
While students are responsible to watch both films each week, they are welcome to locate streaming versions to make viewing easier.

In this class we will look at a broad range of contemporary filmmakers from around the world who for whatever reason self-identify as Black from the 1970s to the present. Some of them were born in the US, some of were trained in the US and share citizenship elsewhere. If post-Obama does not mean post-racial, then what does it mean? With all of the films recently released, which deal with histories of slavery – are we in a different racial moment? What does it mean to an American public who sees black faces more frequently on screens than ever before, screens where black men are allowed to kiss white women and black men are allowed to kiss each other. We will look at the challenges of black film authorship and will ask: What is at stake in African American cinema? What is the visceral, gut-level function of motion pictures in African American and Black communities? Can we speak of a distinctive practice given the diverse experiences and variable conditions that affect Black lives? What do motion pictures mean for people whose sense of home has been dislocated by migrations and fraught with attacks on their citizenship and humanity, largely through visual representation? We will also trouble notions of nation, ability, gender, sexuality and class as they locate and destabilize blackness.

Together through film watching and interactive lecture, we will explore our present moment and ask ourselves if black citizenship is still in question in America in the same ways it may or may not be around the world?


C Lit 497 Documentary Cinema: Struggles for Representation
 runs 4 days per week with M/W screening and T/R lecture.

What is stake in telling and witnessing truth? Documentary Film: Struggles for Representation explores socially engaged cinema through the dynamics of social movements in North America and the West.

We will ask how disenfranchised populations use visual documents as revolutionary documents, organizing tools to mobilize their agendas, participate in national discourse, or create their own. We will reframe documentary scenes to include still images, installation, self-ethnography and docu-narrative to query the truth imperative of social engagement. What might it mean to create one’s own truth? “Struggles for Representation” examines the impulse to narrate becoming as a fundamental form of resistance for people with disabilities, women, people of colour and members of LGBTQ communities.

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