Dr Zélie Asava is a lecturer, author and public speaker on race, gender and representation in screen studies.
“Zélie Asava’s Mixed Race Cinemas: Multiracial Dynamics in America and France is an important contribution to mixed race studies, because representation is treated as the source of identity, rather than its effect. Asava focuses on female black-white mixed race in film, from the tragic mulatta figure, through passing, over the 20th century, and shows how these earlier tropes continue into our own “post-binary” times. Fascinating, seductive, suffering, passive, and triumphant, these racially ambiguous actors and their characters timelessly reflect and create broad human conditions of provincialism, cosmopolitanism, oppression, liberation, grief, and joy. Mixed Race Cinemas should be required reading for all students of race and gender, as well as those who appreciate film.” – Naomi Zack, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oregon, USA
“Zélie Asava makes an important contribution with this smartly researched study of mixed race representation in U.S. and French films. Her analysis of relevant films and the mixed racial politics of these two national cinemas is cogent and sharply illuminating.” – Mary Beltrán, Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Austin, USA and co-editor, Mixed Race Hollywood
“Zélie Asava is a bold new voice in cinematic and mixed-race studies. She follows up her path-breaking first book, The Black Irish Onscreen, with Mixed Race Cinemas, a trenchant examination of mixed-race figures in nearly a century of French and American film, from the movies of Oscar Micheaux to mixed-race sci-fi. Her writing is grounded in but not burdened by theory and offers a fine-grained gender analysis. In offering sometimes startling insights, she deepens our understandings of the different racial systems that have evolved in each of these countries. This is a terrific book.” – Paul Spickard, Professor of History and Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Sara Ahmed argues that institutions often attach failure to the individuals failed by them; the minoritised complainant who speaks out against discrimination is labelled as the cause and source of the problem. In order to maintain post-racial mythology (and elide the decolonising gaze), the complainant is stigmatised, silenced and excluded. Such conditions of social membershipContinue reading “Pandemics, Posthumanism and Potentiality: Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever”
In 1957, the actor John Cassavetes decided to make Shadows, a film developed through a series of acting workshops: “We did everything wrong, technically…. The only thing we did right was to get a group of people together who were young, full of life, and wanted to do something of meaning.” In response to itsContinue reading “John Cassavetes’ Shadows: A Snapshot of the Mixed-Race Experience”
One of the first feature films by an African-American woman is Kathleen Collins’s 1982 masterpiece Losing Ground. The film is unique in many respects, not least for its centralisation of the black bourgeoisie. Losing Ground is a rare example of a feminist film focused on a complex, intellectual and reserved black female protagonist. Through itsContinue reading “Forgotten Filmmakers: Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground”
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