I and I Survive: Film Blackness and Contemporary Cinema

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Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Thursday, March 30, 20174:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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The talk will consider some of the major arguments and themes of Film Blackness: American Cinema and the Idea of Film with attention to issues of visual historiography, death, resistance, and film form. By mapping out ways of addressing the idea of black film through the lens of black visual and expressive culture, the talk will focus on Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits (2015), Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight (2016), the work of Kevin Jerome Everson, and other recent and consequential enactments of film blackness.

Michaeal Boyce Gillespie’s work focuses on black visual and expressive culture, film theory, genre, visual historiography, global cinema, adaptation theory, popular music studies, and contemporary art. His recently released book, Film Blackness: American Cinema and the Idea of Black Film (Duke University Press, 2016) frames black film alongside literature, music, art, photography, and new media, treating it as an interdisciplinary form that enacts black visual and expressive culture. The book shifts the ways scholars think about black film, treating it not as a category, genre, or strictly a representation of the black experience, but as a visual negotiation between film as art and the discursivity of race. Gillespie has published numerous essays and book chapters including “Grace and Grind: Notes on the Work of Kevin Jerome Everson” in How to Remain Human (Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, 2015), and “Reckless Eyeballing: Coonskin, Film Blackness, and the Racial Grotesque,” in Contemporary Black American Cinema: Race, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies, edited by Mia Mask (Routledge, 2012). His most recent research project is entitled Music of My Mind: Blackness and Sonic Visuality. Gillespie is currently associate professor of film at The City College of New York, holding a joint appointment in the Department of Media and Communication Arts and the Black Studies Program. He holds a masters and doctoral degrees from New York University’s Department of Cinema Studies.


Stella Kyriakakis


Michael Boyce Gillespie
Associate Professor of Film, Department of Media and Communication Arts, and the Black Studies Program, The City College of New York

Main Sponsor

Centre for the Study of the United States


Cinema Studies Institute, Innis College, University of Toronto

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