Cedric J. Robinson offers a new understanding of race in America through his analysis of theater and film of the early twentieth century. He argues that economic, political, and cultural forces present in the eras of silent film and the early "talkies" firmly entrenched limited representations of African Americans.Robinson grounds his study in contexts that illuminate the parallel growth of racial beliefs and capitalism, beginning with Shakespearean England and the development of international trade. He demonstrates how the needs of American commerce determined the construction of successive racial regimes that were publicized in the theater and in motion pictures, particularly through plantation and jungle films. In addition to providing new depth and complexity to the history of black representation, Robinson examines black resistance to these practices. Whereas D. W. Griffith appropriated black minstrelsy and romanticized a national myth of origins, Robinson argues that Oscar Micheaux transcended uplift films to create explicitly political critiques of the American national myth. Robinson's analysis marks a new way of approaching the intellectual, political, and media racism present in the beginnings of American narrative cinema.
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Cedric J. Robinson (1940-2016) was professor of Black Studies and political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of four other books, including Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (from the University of North Carolina Press).
What People are Saying About This
Careful, exhaustive scholarship and densely packed argumentation. . . . One of the most important resources in years, this book is already a classic. . . . Essential.CHOICE
A complex, thoughtful perspective on the protean nature of American culture and those who profited and suffered from its progression.Journal of American History
There is nothing like this book. At once a magnificent work of social and cultural history, an anthropology of race, and a political economy of racial capitalism and Empire, this is the most original examination of the American film industry ever published. But like all of Robinson's work, Forgeries of Memory and Meaning does much more, extending over three centuries to reconstruct the roots of modern black representation in the works of Shakespeare, scientific discourse, and early minstrelsy. And his prodigious research has uncovered celluloid gems and theater works I never knew existed.Robin D. G. Kelley, University of Southern California