In this course, we will look at early African American filmmaking practices from their emergence in the 1910s, through the rise of Race film, up to the immediate post-WWII period. We will approach this body of work with regards to specific contexts of production, distribution, exhibition, and reception—but also aspects of form and aesthetics. This includes issues of representation, the politics of early Black filmmaking, Black film criticism, and intersections with Hollywood. To explore these topics, we will look at a range of film forms including theatrical, nontheatrical, religious, sponsored, educational, and various fiction genres such as comedy, melodrama, and the western. Emphasis will also be on the historiography of African American film, issues of methodology, and the possibilities and limits of the archive. Filmmakers and film companies include: William Foster, George Broome, George and Noble Johnson, Richard D. Maurice, Norman Film Manufacturing Company, Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, Colored Players Film Corporation, James and Eloyce Gist, Zora Neale Hurston, and S.S. Jones.