Senior Scholars: The Cinema of Otherness (Remote)

Terri Mester
Part-time Fellow in SAGES, Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, CWRU
Thursdays, March 18–April 22
1:30-3:30 p.m. ET

One way that humans understand themselves is to consider themselves in contrast to some counter entity -- an “other” -- against which the self can be understood. This “other,” though perhaps based on knowledge of a real person or people, is always shaped by the self’s projected fears and desires. At a cultural level, these projections result in generally held stereotypes that the powerful use to maintain their superior position. Movies are one place where stereotypes of the “other” are created and maintained. Movies shape how we see, think, and feel toward the “other.” In this course, we will attempt to understand how American film manufactures “otherness” by examining Hollywood’s use of ethnic categories of “otherness”, as well as how they position the viewing self as white. We will also examine other sites of difference, such as gender, sexual orientation, and the differently-abled.

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