The Department of Art and Art History's Christensen Distinguished Lecture presents Jacqueline Stewart, professor of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago, who will speak on "Sisters Inside Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class: Black Women Through the Lens of William Greaves."
The 1968 documentary Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class, photographed, directed, and edited by the prolific and prescient William Greaves, is a tour de force exploration of the external and internal pressures that the Negro middle class faces at a watershed moment in American political history. But as the film’s title signals, Still A Brother articulates what it means to be a Negro middle class subject primarily through Negro male voices.
This lecture zooms in on the Black women captured mostly silently by Greaves’s camera (including wives, workers, ladies, activists, and intellectuals) to consider the host of subterranean stories about gender and sexuality that live inside of this inside look at Negro class mobility and identity in transition. Still a Brother raises key questions about how Greaves’s efforts to create a distinctive Black film aesthetic addressed gender then, and what it means to examine his work through an intersectional lens now.
Jacqueline Stewart’s research and teaching explore African American film cultures from the origins of the medium to the present, as well as the archiving and preservation of moving images and “orphan” media histories, including nontheatrical, amateur, and activist film and video. She directs the South Side Home Movie Project and is co-curator of the L.A. Rebellion Preservation Project at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. She also serves as an appointee to the National Film Preservation Board. She is currently researching the racial politics of moving image preservation and is also completing a study of the life and work of African American actor/writer/director Spencer Williams. Stewart is the author of Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity (University of California Press, 2005), which has achieved recognition from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. In September 2019, Stewart was named host of Turner Classic Movies’ silent movie program, “Silent Sunday Nights,” making her the network’s first African American host.
This lecture is made possible by a generous grant from Carmen M. Christensen
Image: William Greaves. Continental Distributing/Photofest.
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