Blog Post 3

On the first go around with the research proposal, I really wasn’t sure what i was doing. This came partly from my own misunderstanding of exactly what a research proposal was supposed to accomplish, but also because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to research. I narrowed down activist film to black film, and found three specific and important eras of black film, but each of these would have served as an RBA topic alone. Most of the feedback that i got on my research proposal was that it read like an abbreviated history of black film (which it very much was).

I had to remember why I was interested in the subject of non-documentary activist films in the first place: the inherent contradictions of activist commercial film and the subjectivity of the art. If these films serve the purpose of turning a profit, how can they be purely activist? When every aspect of a film is not a reflection of reality, but the embodiment of an artist’s vision about the world he/she seeks to portray, what is at stake in each choice made?

That’s what drew me to blaxploitation. Although it was a marketing strategy, it also produced black narratives never before seen on the screen, and provided more avenue for black artists to work in the film industry. So my research revolves around reconciling these contradictory aspects of the blaxploitation movement. My thesis is roughly that blaxploitation helped more than it hurt, but as a white guy, I worry this is an easy argument to make – I certainly to further my research before fully understanding my argument.

One thought on “Blog Post 3”

  1. I think you are making a really good decision to focus your research and examination on a specific era of black film: blaxploitation. All the eras you discussed and provided historical context on in your proposal and genre modes seemed super interesting and good topics to explore, but I agree with you that attempting to explore all these eras of black film was too expansive and broad a task for the confines of a 10-12 page RBA. By narrowing the scope of your research and thesis to specifically blaxpoitation, I think you will really be able to dig into and profoundly examine this era of film and its relation to activism. I suggest that to critically examine Blaxpoitation, you watch a myriad of different films from this era and research varying responses to such films at the time. Also, I think it would prove to be interesting to maybe personally interview or talk to different individuals who were of age during the Blaxpoitation era and who can provide personal accounts on their perceptions and responses to these films at the time of their release. Lastly, maybe more clearly underline the specific contradictory aspects of Blaxpoitation, which you plan to examine.


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