This article explores the trend in contemporary vampire media to highlight racially-charged issues, demonstrating a consciousness of the way the vampire has been used in conjunction with racial stigmatisation. While the traditional figure of the vampire spoke strongly to late nineteenth-,and early twentieth-century white American fears of miscegenation, I argue that some contemporary vampire narratives, such as Blade (1998), Underworld (2003), and True Blood (2008-), rewrite the figure in order to question and/or undo,the link between ‘monstrosity’ and racial otherness. Central to this task is not only the repositioning and characterisation of the vampire, but also — considering that the female body was once perceived as the locus for racial purity — that of the heroine.
This essay uses Edward Said’s theory of affiliation to consider the
relationship between James Baldwin and contemporary artists Teju Cole and Glenn
Ligon, both of whom explicitly engage with their predecessor’s writing in
their own work. Specifically, Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the
Village” (1953) serves a through-line for this discussion, as it is
invoked in Cole’s essay “Black Body” and Ligon’s
visual series, also titled Stranger in the Village. In
juxtaposing these three artists, I argue that they express the dialectical
energy of affiliation by articulating ongoing concerns of race relations in
America while distinguishing themselves from Baldwin in terms of periodization,
medium-specificity, and their broader relationship to Western art practice. In
their adoption of Baldwin, Cole and Ligon also imagine a way beyond his
historical anxieties and writing-based practice, even as they continue to
reinscribe their own work with his arguments about the African-American
experience. This essay is an intermedial study that reads fiction, nonfiction,
language-based conceptual art and mixed media, as well as contemporary politics
and social media in order consider the nuances of the African-American
experience from the postwar period to our contemporary moment. Concerns about
visuality/visibility in the public sphere, narrative voice, and
self-representation, as well as access to cultural artifacts and aesthetic
engagement, all emerge in my discussion of this constellation of artists. As a
result, this essay identifies an emblematic, though not exclusive, strand of
African-American intellectual thinking that has never before been brought
together. It also demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Baldwin’s
thinking for the contemporary political scene in this country.
James Baldwin was a vocal critic of Hollywood, but he was also a cinephile, and his critique of film was not so much of the medium itself, but of the uses to which it was put. Baldwin saw in film the chance to transform both politics and art—if only film could be transformed itself. This essay blends readings of archival materials, literature, film, and print culture to examine three distinct modes in Baldwin’s ongoing quest to revolutionize film. First, I argue, literature served as a key site to practice being a filmmaker, as Baldwin adapted cinematic grammars in his fiction and frequently penned scenes of filmgoing in which he could, in effect, direct his own movies. Secondly, I show that starting in the 1960s, Baldwin took a more direct route to making movies, as he composed screenplays, formed several production companies, and attempted to work in both Hollywood and the independent film scene in Europe. Finally, I explore how Baldwin sought to change cinema as a performer himself, in particular during his collaboration on Dick Fontaine and Pat Hartley’s documentary I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1982). This little-known film follows Baldwin as he revisits key sites from the civil rights movement and reconnects with activist friends as he endeavors to construct a revisionist history of race in America and to develop a media practice capable of honoring Black communities.
This article provides an introduction to this special section of James Baldwin Review 7 devoted to Baldwin and film. Jackson considers Baldwin’s distinct approach to film criticism by pairing him with James Agee, another writer who wrote fiction as well as nonfiction in several genres, and who produced a large body of film criticism, especially during the 1940s. While Agee, a white southerner born almost a generation before Baldwin, might seem an unlikely figure to place alongside Baldwin, the two shared a great deal in terms of temperament and vision, and their film writings reveal a great deal of consensus in their diagnoses of American pathologies. Another important context for Baldwin’s complex relationship to film is television, which became a dominant media form during the 1950s and exerted a great influence upon both the mainstream reception of the civil rights movement and Baldwin’s reception as a public intellectual from the early 1960s to the end of his life. Finally, the introduction briefly discusses the articles that constitute this special section.
James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.
crises, they increasingly encounter media content that blurs the
line between reality and fiction. This includes everything from rumours and exaggerations on
social media, through to partisan journalism, satire and completely invented stories that are
designed to look like real news articles. Although this media content varies enormously, it is
often grouped together under nebulous and all-encompassing terms such as ‘fake
news’, ‘disinformation’ or ‘post-truth’ media.
Scholars have started to pay serious attention to the production and impact of all
This article offers an alternative to the predominant and pervasive theoretical
approaches to discussing time in film. It adheres to ordinary language, and moves
away from a ‘mapping’ of theoretical models or contextual analysis to concentrate on
a films specifics. It considers the particular handling of time in a particular film:
The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993). Fixing on specific points of style, the
article examines the interplay of time and gesture, and the editing techniques of
ellipses and dissolves. Both the article and the film hold their attention on the
intricacy and intimacy afforded by moments, as they pass. Both explore how the
intensity of a lovers relationship over decades is expressed in fleeting passages of
shared time. In doing so, the article advances a vocabulary of criticism to match the
rhetoric of the film, to appreciate the works handling of time. Detailed
consideration of this achievement allows for a greater understanding of the designs
and possibilities of time in cinema.
The tendency in most writing on the temporal properties of film music has been to
note music‘s ability to establish, quickly and efficiently, a films historical
setting. Although acknowledging this important function, this paper seeks to explore
a wider range of temporal properties fulfilled by film music. Three aspects of musics
temporality are discussed: anachronism (whereby choices of anachronistic music can
provide the spectator with ways of making sense of a films subtext or its characters’
state of mind), navigation (the ability of music to help the spectator understand
where and when they are in a films narrative) and expansion (musics ability to expand
our experience of film time). The paper focuses on Bernard Herrmann, and his score
for Taxi Driver (1976), and argues that Herrmann was particularly sensitive to the
temporal possibilities of film music.
This essay interweaves an analysis of Raymond Depardons short documentary film, 10
minutes de silence pour John Lennon (1980), with some broader reflections on time,
cultural history, and silence. Shot in a single take, the film records the
expressions, movements, and reactions of some of 200,000 mourners who gathered in
Central Park to commemorate Lennons life six days after his death in December, 1980.
Despite its observational form and aesthetic reticence, 10 minutes de silence renders
unexpected coincidences of colour, perspective, gesture, and noise, spontaneous
formations and patterns that resonate beyond the films actual moment and journalistic