Screening, interpretation, and analysis of films from developing non-European cultures and by people of color. Mechanisms of racism in dominant U.S. media. Repeatable twice for a maximum of 12 credits.
There is perhaps no image more widely recognized yet more grossly misunderstood in American popular culture than the “Indian.” Whether viewed as irredeemable savages and impediments to progress or as idealized possessors of primitive innocence and new-age spiritualism, “the Indian” stands as an anachronistic relic of a bygone era whose sacrifice on the altars of modernity and progress, while perhaps tragic, is both inevitable and necessary to the maintenance of narratives of US exceptionalism in the Americas. Of course, the Reel Indians produced by Hollywood say very little about Real Native peoples who not only refuse to vanish, but who consistently reject their prescribed roles in the US national imaginary, insisting instead on rights to rhetorical and representational sovereignty. Through a juxtaposition of cinematic and critical texts, this course explores the various ways in which Native-produced films from the late 1990s to the present contest—if not outright refuse—narrative, generic, and representational constructions of “the white man’s Indian” on the way to imagining more complex possibilities and futures for “Real Indians” in the twenty-first century.