19-20 DT3105: Advanced Option Race Relations in Theatre Film and Television

This course aims to extend your vocabularies for analysing representations of race in theatre, film and television. To achieve this, the course will focus on examining a range of different representations of race relations in theatre, film and television programmes and consider how these representations are to be critically analysed. The course will be organised around genres and themes of the respective texts to examine such issues as representations of slavery, interracial relationships, nationalism, intersections of race with class, gender and sexuality, post-race identities and so on. Students will examine these portrayals with close reference to theoretical debates about race in contemporary cultural studies, thus testing these tools of analysis for engaging with portrayals of race, past and present. Plays, films and television series will be selected from a wide range across historical, national, and cultural contexts and might include Shakespeare's 'Othello' and 'The Merchant of Venice', Anna Deveare Smith's ‘Fires in the Mirror' (1992) and 'Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (1994)', Roy Williams' 'Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads' (2001), David Mamet's 'Race' (2009), Lorraine Hansberry's 'A Raisin in the Sun' (1959), films such as 'The Birth of a Nation' (1915), 'Jungle Fever' (1991), 'Falling Down (1993), L'Haine (1995), 'American History X (1998), 'Crash' (2004), '12 Years a Slave' (2013) and television sitcoms such as 'Love Thy Neighbour' (1972-76) and 'Mind Your Language' (1977-79). Each session will focus on one of these core textual examples with supporting secondary readings on the genre and/or theme illuminated and the students will also be required to prepare and present short independent research papers on related texts in the genre, topics or issues raised by the texts, and/or critical readings. By comparing and contrasting representations in different genres and historical eras students will garner their awareness and understanding of how these portrayals can be used to reflect on race relations in the cultures from which they emerged and thus how we can examine representations as a way of gaining insight into prominent societal concerns.