Abstract/Details

What it is…what it shall be!: Blackness as generic revision in the blaxploitation films of the 1970s


2004 2004

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

During the early years of the motion picture industry, black performers were often depicted as shuckin' and jivin' caricatures. Specifically, black males were portrayed as toms, coons and bucks, while the mammy and tragic mulatto archetypes circumscribed black femininity. This misrepresentation began to change in the 1950s and 1960s when performers such as Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier were cast in more positive roles. These performers paved the way for the black exploitation or blaxploitation movement, which began in 1970 and flourished until 1975. The movement is characterized by films that feature a black hero or heroine, black supporting characters, a predominately black urban setting, a display of black sexuality, excessive violence, and a contemporary rhythm and blues soundtrack. Films such as Shaft (1971) and Super Fly (1972) serve as examples. Blaxploitation films were made across varying genres, but the questionable elements of some of the pictures caused them to be referred to as “blaxploitation” films with little or no regard given to their generic categorization. This dissertation examines how Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Blacula (1972), The Mack (1973), and Cleopatra Jones (1973) fit within the detective, horror, gangster, and cop action genres, respectively. Furthermore, this dissertation illustrates the manner in which the inclusion of “blackness” represents a significant revision to the aforementioned genres.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Motion Pictures;
African Americans;
Minority & ethnic groups;
Sociology
Classification
0900: Motion Pictures
0325: African Americans
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0631: Sociology
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Blackness; Blaxploitation; Films; Nineteen 70s
Title
What it is…what it shall be!: Blackness as generic revision in the blaxploitation films of the 1970s
Author
Lawrence, William Novotny
Number of pages
216
Publication year
2004
Degree date
2004
School code
0099
Source
DAI-A 65/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
University/institution
University of Kansas
University location
United States -- Kansas
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3141478
ProQuest document ID
305172862
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/305172862/previewPDF
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.