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Release: April 10, 2002

UI visitor to discuss African-American influence on early cinema April 19

When African-Americans began migrating from the South to northern urban centers in the early 20th century they created a significant impact on a wide variety of social and cultural movements, including the development of early cinema.

Jacqueline Stewart, an assistant professor of English, cinema and media studies, and African and African-American studies at the University of Chicago, will discuss this influence in a free, public lecture at the University of Iowa on Friday, April 19. Stewart's presentation, "Along the Stroll: Mapping Chicago's Black Film Culture, 1905-1920," is hosted by the UI American Studies Department and will begin at 4 p.m. in room 704 Jefferson Building.

Stewart's research on African-American urban film culture illustrates how African Americans engaged with the cinema as part of their larger effort to be recognized as New Negroes and full American citizens.

"Black migrants challenged racial segregation of public spaces like theaters, and questioned stereotypical representations of Blackness in film and other media by migrating-literally and figuratively-out of their traditional social roles," she said.

In addition to film, Stewart's broad interests in Black cultural production include nineteenth and twentieth century African American literature, and Black literary theory and cultural criticism. Stewart earned her BA in English at Stanford University in 1991. She received her Ph.D. in English at the University of Chicago in 1999.

Stewart is a member of the board of Women in the Director's Chair, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating progressive, independent media by women. She has also served on the Programming Committee of the Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival.

Co-sponsors of this event include the African-American World Studies Department and the Institute for Cinema and Culture.