Cinema and Civil Rights
This course will examine key moments in the history of civil rights through a cinematic lens. Over the course of the semester, we will explore how filmmakers have depicted the lives, aspirations, and strategies of those who have struggled for equal rights; how different struggles have intersected with each other; what aesthetic strategies have been adopted to represent freedom and the denial of it; and how effective cinematic efforts to contribute to increased freedom have been as well as what criteria we use to evaluate success or failure in the first place. Each week, we will watch a film and read a series of texts that will be drawn from a variety of arenas, including histories of civil rights; civil rights pamphlets and speeches; filmmaker interviews; film and media theory; memoirs; and theories of race, gender and sexuality. Course requirements: mutual respect; completion of all readings and screenings; participation in class discussion; weekly online responses; a final project that can be a research paper, film, art project, or community-based initiative.