Presentation Title

“Watching While Black”: Understanding Black Viewership From a Critical Lens

Faculty Mentor

Jonathan Burton

Start Date

17-11-2018 9:30 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 9:45 AM

Location

C301

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

interdisciplinary

Abstract

“Watching While Black”: Understanding Black Viewership From a Critical Lens

Film imagery is a product of historical and sociological stances, my research is an exploration of these stances as they relate to black people and their audience participation in film viewing. It is my belief and the object of my research that these historical and sociological implications have a direct effect on the formation of an audience’s viewership perspective. When we watch films we bring our lived experiences and the experiences of those we share history with us into the theater, due to this we all have differing perspectives of the significance of a film’s elements and themes. By utilizing theoretical frameworks like Moment of Rupture (Diawara 1993), Oppositional Gaze (Bell Hooks 1992), and Relations of Power (Foucault 1976), one can develop a poetics of watching that can help to dissect the point of view of a black viewer. Using Night of the Living Dead (1968) by George Romero as a case study I will be able to use these theoretical frameworks to dissect Characters, Setting, and Plot Devices to further illuminate these points.

Summary of research results to be presented

In short, people existing at odds with the realities set forth in films are in need of a way to critically view and even weaponize their gaze against the unchecked power structures within.The result of my research shows that by developing a poetics of watching, one can gain a better understanding of the position of their viewership in relation to race. By utilizing the historical and social experiences of black people in the United States in tandem with critical race theories and theories of power, one can effectively assert themselves as an active participant in film discourse. This poetics of watching also serves as a way to understand the multiplicity of an audience’s perspective as it reinstates real world implications in art that is considered outside the realm of reality.

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Nov 17th, 9:30 AM Nov 17th, 9:45 AM

“Watching While Black”: Understanding Black Viewership From a Critical Lens

C301

“Watching While Black”: Understanding Black Viewership From a Critical Lens

Film imagery is a product of historical and sociological stances, my research is an exploration of these stances as they relate to black people and their audience participation in film viewing. It is my belief and the object of my research that these historical and sociological implications have a direct effect on the formation of an audience’s viewership perspective. When we watch films we bring our lived experiences and the experiences of those we share history with us into the theater, due to this we all have differing perspectives of the significance of a film’s elements and themes. By utilizing theoretical frameworks like Moment of Rupture (Diawara 1993), Oppositional Gaze (Bell Hooks 1992), and Relations of Power (Foucault 1976), one can develop a poetics of watching that can help to dissect the point of view of a black viewer. Using Night of the Living Dead (1968) by George Romero as a case study I will be able to use these theoretical frameworks to dissect Characters, Setting, and Plot Devices to further illuminate these points.