Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909-1949

Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909-1949

by Anna Everett
ISBN-10:
0822326140
ISBN-13:
9780822326144
Pub. Date:
04/02/2001
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books

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Overview

Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909-1949

In Returning the Gaze Anna Everett revises American film history by recuperating the extensive and all-but-forgotten participation of black film critics during the early twentieth century. While much of the existing scholarship on blacks and the cinema focuses on image studies and stereotypical representations, this work excavates a wealth of early critical writing on the cinema by black cultural critics, academics, journalists, poets, writers, and film fans.
Culling black newspapers, magazines, scholarly and political journals, and monographs, Everett has produced an unparalleled investigation of black critical writing on the early cinema during the era of racial segregation in America. Correcting the notion that black critical interest in the cinema began and ended with the well-documented press campaign against D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, she discovers that as early as 1909 black newspapers produced celebratory discourses about the cinema as a much-needed corrective to the predominance of theatrical blackface minstrelsy. She shows how, even before the Birth of a Nation controversy, the black press succeeded in drawing attention to both the callous commercial exploitation of lynching footage and the varied work of black film entrepreneurs. The book also reveals a feast of film commentaries that were produced during the “roaring twenties” and the jazz age by such writers as W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as additional pieces that were written throughout the Depression and the pre– and post–war periods. Situating this wide-ranging and ideologically complex material in its myriad social, political, economic, and cultural contexts, Everett aims to resuscitate a historical tradition for contemporary black film literature and criticism.
Returning the Gaze will appeal to scholars and students of film, black and ethnic studies, American studies, cultural studies, literature, and journalism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822326144
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 04/02/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Anna Everett is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction: Returning the Gaze1
1The Souls of Black Folk in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Black Newspaper Criticism and the Early Cinema, 1909-191612
2The Birth of a Nation and Interventionist Criticism: Resisting Race as Spectacle59
3Cinephilia in the Black Renaissance: New Negro Film Criticism, 1916-1930107
4Black Modernist Dialectics and the New Deal: Accommodationist and Radical Film Criticism, 1930-1940179
5The Recalcitrant Gaze: Critiquing Hollywood in the 1940s272
Epilogue314
Notes317
Works Cited333
Index349

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