The Cinema And Its Shadow: Race And Technology In Early Cinema by Alice MauriceThe Cinema And Its Shadow: Race And Technology In Early Cinema by Alice Maurice

The Cinema And Its Shadow: Race And Technology In Early Cinema

byAlice Maurice

Paperback | March 15, 2013

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The Cinema and Its Shadow argues that race has defined the cinematic apparatus since the earliest motion pictures, especially at times of technological transition. In particular, this work explores how racial difference became central to the resolving of cinematic problems: the stationary camera, narrative form, realism, the synchronization of image and sound, and, perhaps most fundamentally, the immaterial image—the cinema’s “shadow,” which figures both the material reality of the screen image and its racist past.

Discussing early “race subjects,” Alice Maurice demonstrates that these films influenced cinematic narrative in lasting ways by helping to determine the relation between stillness and motion, spectacle and narrative drive. The book examines how motion picture technology related to race, embodiment, and authenticity at specific junctures in cinema’s development, including the advent of narratives, feature films, and sound. In close readings of such films as The Cheat, Shadows, and Hallelujah!, Maurice reveals how the rhetoric of race repeatedly embodies film technology, endowing it with a powerful mix of authenticity and magic. In this way, the racialized subject became the perfect medium for showing off, shoring up, and reintroducing the cinematic apparatus at various points in the history of American film.

Moving beyond analyzing race in purely thematic or ideological terms, Maurice traces how it shaped the formal and technological means of the cinema.

Alice Maurice is associate professor of English at the University of Toronto. Her articles have appeared in journals including Camera Obscura, Moving Image, and Cinema Journal.
Title:The Cinema And Its Shadow: Race And Technology In Early CinemaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:March 15, 2013Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816678057

ISBN - 13:9780816678051


Table of Contents



Introduction: Embodying Cinema

1. Performing Body, Performing Image: Race and the Boundaries of Early Cinematic Narrative

2. Face, Race, and Screen: Close-ups and the Transition to the Feature Film

3. Recasting Shadows: Race, Image, and Audience

4. “Cinema at Its Source”: Synchronizing Race and Sound in the Early Talkies

Conclusion: RED, White, and Blue: Digital Cinema, Race, and Avatar




Editorial Reviews

"An excellent volume for anyone interested in early cinema, racial representation, and cinematic technology."—CHOICE

"Alice Maurice’s scholarship is deftly written and phenomenally useful to those who study American racism."—Journal of American Culture

"Presents a challenging and unique approach not only to black film studies and Asian film studies but also to the study of cinema as a whole."—Black Camera