Contemporary Black American Cinema offers a fresh collection of essays on African American film, media, and visual culture in the era of global multiculturalism. Integrating theory, history, and criticism, the contributing authors deftly connect interdisciplinary perspectives from American studies, cinema studies, cultural studies, political science, media studies, and Queer theory. This multidisciplinary methodology expands the discursive and interpretive registers of film analysis. From Paul Robeson’s and Sidney Poitier’s star vehicles to Lee Daniels’s directorial forays, these essays address the career legacies of film stars, examine various iterations of Blaxploitation and animation, question the comedic politics of "fat suit" films, and celebrate the innovation of avant-garde and experimental cinema.
Table of Contents
Introduction-- Mia Mask 1. Paul Robeson and the End of His "Movie" Career-- by Charles Musser 2. The Burden of the Beautiful Beast: Visualization and the Black Male Body-- by Keith M. Harris 3. Reckless Eyeballing: Coonskin, Film Blackness and the Racial Grotesque-- by Michael B, Gillespie 4. The Measure of Men: Legacies of Poitier’s A Piece of the Action-- by Ian Gregory Strachan 5. Bamboozled: In the Mirror of Abjection-- by Ed Guerrero 6. Between Documentary and the Avant-Garde: Exploring the Visual Poetics of Ruins in Christopher Harris’s still/here-- by Terri Francis 7. Who’s Behind that Fat Suit?: Momma, Medea, Rasputia and the Politics of Cross-Dressing-- by Mia Mask 8. Disney’s Improvisation: New Orleans' Second Line, Racial Masquerade and the Reproduction of Whiteness in The Princess and the Frog-- by Sarita McCoy Gregory 9. Shadowboxing: Lee Daniels's Nonrepresentational Cinema-- by Alessandra Raengo 10. "I'm a Militant Queen": Queering Blaxploitation Films-- by Angelique Harris 11. Street Girls With No Future?: Black Women Coming of Age in the City-- by Paula Massood
Mia Mask, Associate Professor of Film at Vassar College, is the author of Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film. She has written film reviews and covered festivals for Cineaste, IndieWire.com, The Village Voice, Film Quarterly, Time Out New York, and The Poughkeepsie Journal. Her criticism was anthologized in The Best American Movie Writing (1999), and her cultural commentary can be heard on National Public Radio. Her essays have been published in the African American National Biography, Film and Literature, and American Cinema of the 1970s.
'Appropriate for any collection of texts dealing with African American studies, cultural studies, and film or media studies, Contemporary Black American Cinema is a fascinating and diverse collection of essays...it is undoubtedly a valuable asset for any library striving to maintain a collection of current and significant works on race and representation.' Cate Blouke, English and Third World Literatures Review of Books