Los angeles harper lecture: recovering black love on screen: unearthing lost films and the traces of alternative histories

Featuring Allyson Nadia Field

We are postponing the event until a further date, to be announced; we are sorry for the inconvenience.

In 2017, a film archivist at the University of Southern California discovered a circa-1900 nitrate print of an African American couple laughing and embracing repeatedly in a naturalistic and joyful manner—an incredible departure from the racist caricatures prevalent in early cinema. After some detective work, the film was identified as Something Good-Negro Kiss, made in Chicago in 1898 by William Selig with well-known vaudeville performers Saint Suttle and Gertie Brown. The film was named to the National Film Registry in 2018 and received widespread attention, leading to further rediscoveries of black performance in early films. Join Allyson Nadia Field to explore how these early film artifacts require a radical rethinking of the relationships between race, performance, and the emergence of American cinema. And they have much to tell us about the cinematic expression of African American affection and how it can serve as a powerful testament to black humanity at a time of rampant misrepresentation.

The event will begin with a 30-minute welcome reception, followed by the lecture presentation and a postreception.

harper_winter20_la_headshotFeatured Faculty: Allyson Nadia Field
Allyson Nadia Field is author of Uplift Cinema: The Emergence of African American Film and the Possibility of Black Modernity (Duke University Press, 2015) and coeditor of Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film (Duke University Press, 2019) and L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (University of California Press, 2015). She is currently working on her next book, tentatively titled Minstrelsy-Vaudeville-Cinema: American Popular Culture and Racialized Performance in Early Film, for which she was named a 2019 Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Field is associate professor of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago.

Lecture Details

$10/Maroon Loyalty Society member or recent graduate (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Free for current academic year graduates and current students
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Chicago, Harper, Odyssey, and Phoenix philanthropic societies
Event Details:
2:30 p.m. Registration and networking
3:00 p.m. Presentation and discussion
4:00 p.m. Reception
Parking Information:
Complimentary parking vouchers will be available at registration.
Contact or 773.702.2150.


Date To Be Determined. ( Timezone: Pacific )


Omni Las Angeles Hotel at California Plaza
251 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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