Passing and Posing between Black and White. Calibrating the Color Line in U.S. Cinema


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Since its inception, U.S. American cinema has grappled with the articulation of racial boundaries. This applies, in the first instance, to featuring mixed-race characters crossing the color line. In a broader sense, however, this also concerns viewing conditions and knowledge configurations. The fact that American film engages itself so extensively with the unbalanced relation between black and white is neither coincidental nor trivial to state — it has much more to do with disputing boundaries that pertain to the medium itself. Lisa Gotto examines this constellation along the early history of American film, the cinematic modernism of the late 1950s, and the post-classical cinema of the turn of the millennium.

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