Black American Cinema: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Black American Cinema

1st Edition

Edited by Manthia Diawara


336 pages

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Paperback: 9780415903974
pub: 1993-08-18
Hardback: 9780415903967
pub: 1993-08-18
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eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203873304
pub: 2012-10-02
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This is the first major collection of criticism on Black American cinema. From the pioneering work of Oscar Micheaux and Wallace Thurman to the Hollywood success of Spike Lee, Black American filmmakers have played a remarkable role in the development of the American film, both independent and mainstream.

In this volume, the work of early Black filmmakers is given serious attention for the first time. Individual essays consider what a Black film tradition might be, the relation between Black American filmmakers and filmmakers from the diaspora, the nature of Black film aesthetics, the artist's place within the community, and the representation of a Black imaginary. Black American Cinema also uncovers the construction of Black sexuality on screen, the role of Black women in independent cinema, and the specific question of Black female spectatorship. A lively and provocative group of essays debate the place and significance of Spike Lee

Of crucial importance are the ways in which the essays analyze those Black directors who worked for Hollywood and whose films are simplistically dismissed as sell-outs, to the Hollywood "master narrative," as well as those "crossover" filmmakers whose achievements entail a surreptitious infiltration of the studios. Black American Cinema demonstrates the wealth of the Black contribution to American film and the complex course that contribution has taken.

Contributors: Houston Baker, Jr., Toni Cade Bambara, Amiri Baraka, Jacquie Bobo, Richard Dyer, Jane Gaines, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ron Green, Ed Guerrero, bell hooks, Phyllis Klotman, Ntongele Masilela, Clyde Taylor, and Michele Wallace.


"Manthia Diawara's Black American Cinema shows how refreshingly far away from decorous consensus the field of Black cinema study is today, in a varied and provocative montage of opinions, personal histories, position statements, and historical criticism."

-- Journal of Communication, Summer 1995

"…essays in Black American Cinema make the book a worthy addition to the small shelf of Black cinema criticism."

-- Journal of Communication, Summer 1995

"…In attempting to plug the vast academic gaps in my knowledge, this seminal collection of essays from the AFI [American Film Institute] readers series proved invaluable. In the preface Diawara talks about addressing both “a black film aesthetic by focusing on the black artist” and “the thorny issue of film spectatorship”. This authoritative volume covers film-makers from Oscar Micheaux to Spike Lee, and is as relevant now as it was when first published."

-- Mark Kermode, The Guardian

About the Editor

Manthia Diawara is Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Series

AFI Film Readers

AFI Film Readers, published in cooperation with the American Film Institute, focus on important issues and themes in film and media scholarship.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies