In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a pioneering black intellectual and the son of former slaves, recognizing “the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks . . . founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).”
Dr. Woodson and the ASALH would later, in 1926, establish the celebration that would go on to become known as Black History Month, choosing the month of February in order to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Today, the ASALH continues Dr. Woodson’s legacy as the progenitor of Black History Month by “disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community.”
Throughout our history, UC Press is proud to have published a great volume of work concerning the topics of black art, literature, politics, and more. Please join us throughout the month as we participate in this global celebration of black history.
A Cinema of Symbolic Knowledge
by James Naremore
“Written in an accessible style, Charles Burnett: A Cinema of Symbolic Knowledge promises to make Burnett a more well-known filmmaker to the general public and perhaps, in its own minor way, might assist Burnett in financing future endeavors by providing him with wider recognition than he has received so far.”
In the first book devoted to Charles Burnett, a crucial figure in the history of American cinema often regarded as the most influential member of the L.A. Rebellion group of African American filmmakers, James Naremore provides a close critical study of all Burnett’s major pictures for movies and television, including Killer of Sheep, To Sleep with Anger, The Glass Shield, Nightjohn, The Wedding, Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property, and Warming by the Devil’s Fire. Having accessed new information and rarely seen material, Naremore shows that Burnett’s career has developed against the odds and that his artistry, social criticism, humor, and commitment to what he calls “symbolic knowledge” have given his work enduring value for American culture.
Creating a New Black Cinema
edited by Allyson Field , Jan-Christopher Horak, and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart
“L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema is a groundbreaking and highly readable compendium focused on the kaleidoscopic network of filmmakers based at UCLA between the 1960s and the 1990s. The collection opens up previously obscured historical pathways that deepen our knowledge of black American cinema, and should inspire further research and scholarship.”
—Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards
L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema is the first book dedicated to the films and filmmakers of the L.A. Rebellion, a group of African, Caribbean, and African American independent film and video artists that formed at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the 1970s and 1980s. The group—including Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, Haile Gerima, Billy Woodberry, Jamaa Fanaka, and Zeinabu irene Davis—shared a desire to create alternatives to the dominant modes of narrative, style, and practice in American cinema, works that reflected the full complexity of Black experiences. This landmark collection of essays and oral histories examines the creative output of the L.A. Rebellion, contextualizing the group’s film practices and offering sustained analyses of the wide range of works, with particular attention to newly discovered films and lesser-known filmmakers.
Stealing the Show
African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood
by Miriam J. Petty
“Stealing the Show’s pedagogical possibilities and pairings are as exciting as they are refreshing. This book should be used in American cinema classes broadly and should serve as a requisite text for African American cinema classes. . . . There is so much that this excellent book says about Black stars and audiences today in . . . the ‘time of plastic representation’ in Hollywood.”
—Journal for Cinema and Media Studies
Stealing the Show is a study of African American actors in Hollywood during the 1930s, a decade that saw the consolidation of stardom as a potent cultural and industrial force. Petty focuses on five performers whose Hollywood film careers flourished during this period . . . to reveal the “problematic stardom” and the enduring, interdependent patterns of performance and spectatorship for performers and audiences of color. She maps how these actors—though regularly cast in stereotyped and marginalized roles—employed various strategies of cinematic and extracinematic performance to negotiate their complex positions in Hollywood and to ultimately “steal the show.”