The historic election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States had a significant impact on both America and the world at large. By voting an African American into the highest office, those who elected Obama did not necessarily look past race, but rather didn’t let race prevent them for casting their ballots in his favor. In addition to reflecting the changing political climate, Obama’s presidency also spurred a cultural shift, notably in music, television, and film.
In Movies in the Age of Obama: The Era of Post-Racial and Neo-Racist Cinema, David Garrett Izzo presents a varied collection of essays that examine films produced since the 2008 election. The contributors to these essays comment on a number of films in which race and “otherness” are pivotal elements. In addition to discussing such films as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Black Dynamite, The Blind Side, The Butler, Django Unchained, The Help, and Invictus, this collection also includes essays that probe racial elements in The Great Gatsby, The Hunger Games, and The Mist. The volume concludes with several essays that examine the 2013 Academy Award winner for best picture, 12 Years a Slave.
Though Obama’s election may have been the main impetus for a resurgence of black films, this development is a bit more complicated. Moviemakers have long responded to the changing times, so it is inevitable that the Obama presidency would spark an increase in films that comment, either subtly or overtly, on the current cultural climate. By looking at the issue these films address, Movies in the Age of Obama will be of value to film scholars, of course, but also to those interested in other disciplines, including history, politics, and cultural studies.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; August 2014
- ISBN 9781442241305
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
- Title: Movies in the Age of Obama
- Author: David Garrett Izzo (ed.); Linda Belau (contrib.); Thomas Britt (contrib.); Sonya C. Brown (contrib.); Brian E. Butler (contrib.); Ed Cameron (contrib.); Kwakiutl L. Dreher (contrib.); Rodney M. D. Fierce (contrib.); Andrew Grossman (contrib.); Peter C. Grosvenor (contrib.); Blake G. Hobby (contrib.); David M. Jones (contrib.); Victoria McCollum (contrib.); Robert McParland (contrib.); doug morris (contrib.); Salvador Jimenez Murguía (contrib.); Irina Negrea (contrib.); Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar (contrib.); Sohinee Roy (contrib.); Alisha Saiyed (contrib.); Cammie Sublette (contrib.)
Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
In The Press
The years of the Barack Obama presidency have seen a resurgence of 'black cinema' akin to the rise of the Blaxploitation movement of the 1960s. The present collection of 18 essays by a varied collection of academic scholars reviews a number of recent popular films, including The Help, Django Unchained, The Blind Side, 12 Years a Slave, to consider not only their popularity among non-black audiences but also how they fit into the current cultural and political milieu. Of special interest are those essays that address films that are not specifically black-oriented, such as The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games. Even films such as these, argue their authors, speak to the changing cultural landscape that has developed since 2008. As editor Izzo notes in his introduction, the coalescence of minority, traditional Democrat, and other like-minded voters in the presidential election came about in part from the recognition of Obama’s Otherness -- voters saw in his person the outsider that they also felt because of the economic recession. This new crop of films thus deals together with the past, present, and future and especially forces black artists to think about representations. . . .Izzo’s collection deserves a place in comprehensive academic libraries for its currency.
About The Author
David Garrett Izzo is professor of English at Shaw University. He is the author or editor of several books, including Bruce Springsteen and the American Soul (2011) and Huxley’s Brave New World: Essays (2008).