Media and film studies

Race and Ethnicity in Popular Cinema

Module code: P3053B
Level 6
30 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Film, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

Whilst acknowledging the socially constructed status of the terms 'race' and 'ethnicity', it is also important to appreciate the very real consequences of such categorisations for human existence. On this module, we will be exploring the position of popular and counter cinema within this process, examining the way in which it produces particular constructions of race and ethnicity whilst also considering some of the wider implications of these representations. We will consider the representation of a range of racial/ethnic groups across history and across diverse cinemas, which may include the United States, Britain and France. In doing so, we will examine the various social, cultural, political, economic, aesthetic and historical contexts in which representations of race and ethnicity have been situated, exploring the ways in which these contexts have shaped and been shaped by such representations.

Module learning outcomes

  • Show knowledge of how and why particular racial/ethnic groups have functioned in terms of their ‘otherness’ within popular cinema, situating these representations within the context of colonial relations between Europe/US and, Africa and Latin America
  • Show knowledge of racial/ethnic minorities’ attempts to represent themselves through popular cinema
  • Display an understanding of the ways in which racial/ethnic majorities have been represented through popular cinema, forming an appreciation of the importance of making whiteness visible as a racial category.
  • Show knowledge of how racial/ethnic identities are intersected by one another, and by such other formations of identity as gender, class, age and nationality.
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate relevant critical sources in the oral and written analyses of texts