AAST 105: African americans
in film, 1900-present, individuals, images
and ideas on screen


Course Description

This summer, we will delve into the history of blacks in American film – looking both at films produced and directed by African Americans, and at the relationship between black filmmakers, performers, and audiences to the Hollywood film industry.  Film images of blacks are imaginative, historical, and political documents – all at the same time.  Racial representations in the United States have been the outcome of contests over the place of blacks in American political, cultural, and social life. In this course we will explore the changing politics of black imagery in the first century of American film-making, from Birth of a Nation  to Moonlight, and situate this examination within the cultural and political contexts that make these images “legible,” enjoyable, or enraging to film audiences.  Central to this exploration will be a study of African American visual culture and its participation in the historical and contemporary dialogue about race, gender, class, and sexuality in American society.

More about this class!

Please click on image below:

Cynthia Blair
Associate Professor of African American Studies & History

Contact Info

Office: ​​1231 UH
Email: cmblair@uic.edu

Curriculum Vitae


What Does African American American Studies Mean to You?

"The study of African American life, history, and culture embodies a commitment to explore and expose what it means to live black in the United States, and engages us in a complex analysis of past and present struggles for freedom.  African American Studies offers a necessary corrective to imposed silences about race, gender, and sexuality in American society.  For me, it provides a critical perspective on America's past and present and is the basis for a far-reaching vision of social justice, locally and globally."--Cynthia Blair

Course Information

3 hours. Same as COMM 105 and MOVI 105

Requirements Met

Creative Arts course
US Society course


Cultural Production & Analysis
Race, Politics, and Institutions

When is it Offered?