ERIC Number: EJ1202887
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Hollywood's Africa: Lessons in Race, Gender, and Stereotype
Njambi, Wairimu Ngaruiya; O'Brien, William E.
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v40 n4 p349-366 2018
This article relates the authors' experience in a course that they have co-taught periodically called Honors Africans in Film. It is an upper-level, undergraduate course that engages honors students in watching and analyzing mainly Hollywood movies that are set in Africa. The challenge they present to their mostly U.S. American students is to examine both the representations depicted on film and to confront their own preconceptions of Africa and Africans. The feedback the authors have received over the years suggests that most students perceive the semester-long experience as eye-opening, promoting substantial self-reflection and the development of a critical perspective. In addition, the course makes it difficult for many to watch films about Africa in the same way ever again, such as the highly acclaimed and Academy Award winning "Out of Africa" (1985), or the comedy classic "The Gods Must Be Crazy" (1981). The course is centered on an interrogation of stereotypes and reflection on the tremendous difficulties encountered in uprooting and displacing them despite changing cultural, social, and political circumstances over time. Toward this end, perhaps the most challenging sections of the course are those in which the class views relatively recent films. These include, for example, "Blood Diamond" (2006) or "The Constant Gardener" (2005), which incorporate a 21st century Hollywood concern for social justice and appear to pay closer attention to race and gender portrayals.
Descriptors: Stereotypes, Films, Course Descriptions, Honors Curriculum, College Faculty, Teacher Attitudes, Undergraduate Students, African Culture, Feedback (Response), Cultural Influences, Social Influences, Political Influences, Race, Gender Differences, Social Justice, Foreign Countries, Foreign Policy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Africa