Faculty Publications

Identity, Value, And The Work Of Genre: Black Action Films

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The Seventies: The Age of Glitter in Popular Culture

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The black action films of the 1970s stand in an ideal position for re-evaluation. Like many cultural productions of the seventies, they have left strong traces in popular culture itself-in film, television, music, fashion-but can hardly be located in the critical literature. They remain as a moment that cannot quite be dismissed but might best be forgotten. The vast majority of the recent work on these films appears in studies of African-American cinema and focuses on thematic configurations, depictions of black Americans, and responses of audiences. In order to shift the discussion away from the question of audience responses, this paper will focus more upon the black action film’s connections with other genres. Through comparisons among genres and close analysis of a particular film, Gordon Parks’s Shaft, I will attempt to move beyond thematic configurations and broad descriptions of style.1


School of Music

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