Special Collections Featured Book for February: Black Film as a Signifying Practice

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Special Collections’ featured book for February is Black Film as a Signifying Practice: Cinema, Narration and the African-American Aesthetic Tradition  by Gladstone L. Yearwood.

In this book, Yearwood explores cinema as part of the black cultural tradition. He argues that black film criticism is best understood as a 20th century development in the history of African-American aesthetic thought, which provides a substantive and accumulative aesthetic and critical tradition for black film studies. The book examines the way black filmmakers use expressive forms and systems of signification that reflect the cultural and historical priorities of the black experience. It delineates how the African-American expressive tradition utilizes its own vernacular space and time for story telling in the cinema and how black film narration draws on the formal structures of black experience to organize story material.

Black Film as a Signifying Practice provides insights into black fimmaking and the narrational processes at work in African-American expressive forms and in black culture. The book presents an overview of black film and an introduction to black film culture surveying the emergence of the black independent film movement. It also examines of problems in black film narration through an analysis of selected films. 

A useful resource for film studies, African’American studies, cultural studies and the arts, Black Film as a Signifying Practice is part the Allan Rogg Collection and can be found in Special Collections located on the second floor of the Bartle Library (off of the North Reading Room). There is also a copy of this book in the circulating stacks, call number PN 1995.9 N4 Y43 2000.

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