White Roles in Black African Film: Towards an Intercultural Negotiation of Identity Models

This project proposes a new perspective on the history of black African cinema and intercultural processes of appropriation. Film roles that can be traced back to white role models are adapted in African film to completely different goals. In adapting ‘white roles,’ black actors must negotiate scientifically outdated but nevertheless still powerful conceptions, especially in the Western media, of ‘race’-determined identity. Along with the question of when a film role is a ‘white role,’ this study will examine the significance that the taking-over of ‘white roles’ by black African actors has for the development of film south of the Sahara; and what function this intercultural adaptation of roles possesses in processes of negotiating cultural identity. The project’s primary goal is a contribution to the shaping of intercultural concepts.

Term of Project: 2007-2008
Research endowment funding 2007

Project Members:
Jun. Prof. Matthias Krings (Ethnology and African Studies)
Dr. Marie-Helene Gutberlet (Theater, Film, and Media Studies, Frankfurt University)
Cassis Kilian, M.A. (Ethnology and African Studies)

Publication:
KILIAN, CASSIS (2012): Schwarz besetzt. Postkoloniale Planspiele im afrikanischen Film. Bielefeld (=Postcolonial Studies, 14), 396 S.