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CMS 321 A: Oppositional Cinema/Media

Visions of Racial Reckoning and Justice

Meeting Time: 
MW 12:30pm - 2:20pm
MGH 231
D Ruiz head shot for profile
Diana Flores Ruíz

Syllabus Description:

Visions of Racial Reckoning and Justice

This course examines oppositional cinema and media that account for racial injustice and pose alternative visions for recovery, sovereignty, abolition, and dignity through formal innovation. In our study of independent and experimental films and media, our primary concern will be the relationship between ethics and aesthetics. We will explore the politics of documentation, abstraction, testimony, witnessing, and participation at the heart of “reckoning” and “justice” through diverse films, videos, digital artworks, and readings. Through our intersectional approach, we will necessarily engage with gender, sexuality, class, and colonialism.

In some ways, this course responds to contemporary, mainstream discourse of racial reckoning as a recent phenomenon. Our engagement with a historical survey (1980s–present) of oppositional film and media attests to the longstanding efforts of historically marginalized cultural producers to critically envision a more just society. Contributions by Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and Pacific Islander filmmakers and new media artists will help us ask questions including: what contemporary implications might emerge by remixing the historical record? What can speculative futures teach us about the present and the past? Are media complicit in projects of racial injustice?

Students will practice and refine their film analysis skills through weekly writing assignments and a final paper. Pending approval and progress of weekly writing assignments, students may instead create a short film (including a written component) for their final project.

Catalog Description: 
Approaches film and related media as socially and politically engaged practice, with focus on screen media produced or received in "opposition" to dominant cultural and entertainment industry norms. Topics vary.
Department Requirements Met: 
Cinema & Media Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: 
Diversity (DIV)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 31, 2021 - 2:21pm