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7. Anti-Blackness in Horror Films
About this Lecture
In this module, we explore anti-blackness in horror films, focusing in particular on: (i) the racist undertones (if not explicit racism) in some of the earliest Hollywood films, including Birth of a Nation (1915); (ii) the problematic depictions of people of colour in I Walked With a Zombie (1943) and American Horror Story: Coven (2013-14); (iii) Stephen King and the concept of the 'Magical Negro' – e.g. Mama Abigail in The Stand, John Coffey in Green Mile, etc.; and (iv) the importance of black film-makers including of Oscar Michaux (1884-1951), Bill Gunn (1934-89) and Jordan Peele (1979-).
In this course Dr Maisha Wester (University of Sheffield) explores Gothic literature through the lens of race. In the first module, we provide an introduction to the concepts of the gothic and the grotesque in literature and the arts, before turning in the second module to the influence of the American (1775-83), French (1789-99) and (especially) Haitian Revolutions (1791-1804) on Gothic literature. In the third module, we think about the racial politics in British Gothic literature, especially Charlotte Dacre's Zofloya (1806) and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), before turning in the fourth module to think about the same issues in American Gothic literature. In the fifth module, we think about anti-blackness in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925), before turning in the sixth module to consider black diasporic Gothic literature, including Richard Wright's Native Son (1940), Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952) and Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987). Finally, in the seven module, we think about anti-blackness in horror film, and the importance of black film directors including Oscar Michaux (1884-1951), Bill Gunn (1934-89) and Jordan Peele (1979-).
Dr Maisha Wester is visiting lecturer at the University of Sheffield. Her research and teaching focuses on Gothic literature and Horror Film, although she also teaches American literature and African American Cultural Studies. Some of her recent publications include African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places (2012) and (as co-editor) Twenty-First-Century Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (2019).
Cite this Lecture
Wester, M. (2022, February 14). Gothic Literature and Race - Anti-Blackness in Horror Films [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/gothic-literature-and-race/anti-blackness-in-horror-films
Wester, M. "Gothic Literature and Race – Anti-Blackness in Horror Films." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Feb 2022, https://www.massolit.io/courses/gothic-literature-and-race/anti-blackness-in-horror-films