Queen Nzingha Lecture 16. America's Racial Past and Future in The Help and The Purge by Dr Althea Legal-Miller. The widespread appeal of Hollywood movies makes this particular medium a crucial site for examining the meanings of race in the United States. Popular films have the power to reconstruct the racial past of a nation, as well as envision its future. This presentation will provide readings on The Help (dir, Tate Taylor, 2011) and The Purge (dir, James DeMonaco, 2013) in order to examine both the racial and gender discourse that is embedded in these representations of two key social contexts - the 1960s civil rights era and the post-civil rights not-too-distant future. Analysis will highlight the ways in which these narratives draw on the preexisting cinematic racial order of white saviours and
passive blacks who cannot save themselves. This presentation will also explore themes of racial innocence, white redemption, liberal individualism and white female sexuality as the locus of social anxiety.
Queen Nzinga was an African Queen who fought against the European invasion of southern Africa (Congo/Angola). The Queen Nzinga lecture series will feature African female academics / holders of expert knowledge, speaking on topics of their choice on a monthly basis. The Nzinga lecture series will provide a regular platform for women of African descent to highlight important issues in an academic setting. You can view some Queen Nzingha Lectures on our youtube page