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October 6, 2014

Seats Available: CTCS 192m

Race, Class and Gender in American Film

CTCS 192: Race, Class and Gender—which also addresses issues of sexual orientation, age, ethnicity and their function within Hollywood cinema—is one of the most enlightening, controversial and well-known courses at the School of Cinematic Arts. The course is taught by Dr. Todd Boyd, a highly regarded professor of Critical Studies who was recently named one of LA’s fifteen most noteworthy arts professors. Dr. Boyd’s many books include The Notorious Ph.D’s Guide to the Super Fly 70s and Young Black Rich and Famous. He is the producer/co-writer of the film The Wood. He holds the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture.

The course has no prerequisites, is open to anyone and satisfies the University’s diversity requirement. Dr. Boyd discussed the course and why students should consider enrolling this Spring.

Register Here: http://classes.usc.edu/term-20151/classes/ctcs/

Tell me what the course Race, Class, and Gender in American Film is about. DR. BOYD. It looks at the social, cultural and political issues of American Film, particularly studying issues of race, class, and gender and how these issues are represented historically and in contemporary Hollywood Cinema.

Why is it more important than ever to study these issues in the context of American film? It's always been important, but people have not always studied it in the way that they should. Film is, obviously, a very powerful medium and it occupies a very prominent place in our society, and this has been the case for a long time. So it’s important to understand the impact of cinema—how cinema shapes peoples’ ideas and attitudes and influences the way people think about these social and cultural issues. To be able to analyze, critique, and break down how that works, I think is crucial. To understand how cinema influences people's perception is really to understand how the world we live in works.

What is something that a student who takes this course can expect that is unique? Dr. Boyd.

What is your philosophy in curating the films? There are certain films on the screening list that I call 192 classics. These are films like The Godfather or Godfather Part II, Silence of the Lambs – these films that have been on the syllabus from the very beginning that I've been teaching this class, since 1994. Do the Right Thing is a film that, of course, has been on the syllabus a long time. Those 4 films are part of the history of the course, but I always try to include contemporary films.

In recent years, one of the big highlights has been Django Unchained. Last year we watched Spring Breakers – a popular film that I think we'll watch again this coming Spring. I've added Rocky recently. I try to go for a mix of older films as well as contemporary films. I try to bring in a range of films that touch on the issues that we're discussing in a variety of ways.