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Guest Scholars 2022-2023


Columbia University Professor Racquel Gates

"Resonance: Hollywood Style and the Invention of Blackness" 

In this talk, Professor Gates argues that the formal conventions of the Classical Hollywood era (roughly 1910-1960) comprise the stylistic elements for how blackness is made legible on screen, and more significantly, provides the building blocks for Black creatives to subversively construct their own expressions of blackness in popular culture. Though discussions about racial representation in film and television have historically centered on stereotypes, less effort has been spent trying to understand blackness at the formal level. Gates argues that the discussion of stereotypes itself has come to dominate analyses of blackness in film, closing off rich and productive conversations that an interpretive lens grounded in affect and formalism – indeed, an analysis located at the intersection of the two – might bring.