AP/HUMA 4303 6.00
Envisioning the African Diaspora and Migration in Still and Moving Images
This course is about photographs, cinema, and the archival evidence of the African Diaspora in North America, Latin America, and Europe. Self-images provide a means of challenging negative stereotypes and assumptions about black people. We seek to understand how photographs and cinema became media for envisioning freedom, and the attachments we form through our engagement with film archives, as well as to family albums. Accordingly, this course engages experiential learning methods. Students are encouraged to enter the archives and museum spaces, to pour through photographs collected in books and on film. As Tina M. Campt points out in Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe, many scholars of visual culture have shown that “photography plays a critical role in articulating black people’s complex relationship to cultural identity and national belonging.” Accordingly, we ask how still photography and moving images capture moments in the life of an individual and community. We begin with the daguerreotype and work our way through contemporary experimental cinema. Although the scholarship on Black Canadian visual culture is not as extensive as that on African American, Brazilian, Black British, or African European visual culture, students are encouraged to use the readings, photographs, and films as a starting point from which to launch their own investigations and original research into the photography and film archives that document the long history of African and African-descended people in Nova Scotia, as well as relatively recent migrations of African and African-descended people from Africa, South America, and the Caribbean to Canada.