AMST 203
Black/Independent/Cinema Fall 2014
Division II
Cross-listed AFR 209 / ENGL 203 / AMST 203
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Trick question: Is black independent cinema (a) a marketing strategy, (b) a political project, or (c) an aesthetic tradition? In this course, we’ll watch movies that are celebrated or obscure, crowd-pleasing or aesthetically demanding, militant or reassuring, or sometimes all of the above. But “all of the above” is a cheap answer to a trick question–the kind of thing you might say on the way out of the theater if you want to sound smart but don’t really have an opinion of your own! Since the films we’ll watch are not designed for a passive, silent viewer, one of our tasks will be to ask how we might constitute ourselves as the audience they call for. Our primary emphasis will be on basic theoretical questions–what makes a film “independent,” and what makes it “black”?–but we’ll aim for some historical coverage as well, moving backwards and forwards from a grounding in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Films may include Daughters of the Dust, Killer of Sheep, Do the Right Thing, Drylongso (Ordinary), The Spook Who Sat by the Door, The Brother from Another Planet, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, and others.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1455
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation, frequent short writing assignments, a midterm paper and a final project
Extra Info: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AFR or AMST
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam; or consent of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: English majors and Africana concentrators
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 209 Division II ENGL 203 Division I AMST 203 Division II
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C

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