Race and Racism in Film (class syllabus)

Films used for a class on treatments of race and racism in film.


The “Color Line”: Each of the movies we review for this class focuses on a kind of “color line,” or boundary, between people of different races. What does the boundary look like? Is it a physical, social, or ideological boundary? How do people on either side of the line perceive each other? What forces perpetuate and reinforce those boundaries? What do people fear will happen if those boundaries are crossed or permeable?

The “Problem” of Race: Plots, situations, and conflicts in the movies for this class revolve around race. How do the filmmakers define and/or approach race and racism? Where do race and racism come from?…

Read notes
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • Pinky
  • The Searchers
  • In the Heat of the Night
  • Across 110th Street
  • Hairspray
  • Do the Right Thing
  • City of Hope
  • Crash
  • Gook
  • Get Out