January 24th, 2020–Sasha Crawford-Holland

Please join us on Friday, January 24th 2020 from 11 am to 12:30 pm in Cobb 311.

We are delighted to welcome Sasha Crawford-Holland, PhD Student in Cinema and Media Studies, who will be presenting a draft of a paper titled “The Birth of a Nation (1915) in Canada: Anti-Americanism and Anti-Blackness during World War I.”

Jacqueline Stewart, Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College, will provide a response.

What can Canadian society’s reception of American white supremacist cinema tell us about the racial politics of Canadian nationalism? D.W. Griffith’s racist epic The Birth of a Nation (1915) took Canada by storm during a period of intense anti-Americanism. While Black Canadians protested the film in nationalist language that affirmed Canada’s myth of sanctuary, white censors, journalists, and politicians mobilized the rhetoric of Canadian exceptionalism to justify the film’s presentation. This study investigates how The Birth of a Nation’s reception in Canada agitated contradictions and reconciled them through the violent logic crystallized in the film itself. Through analyses of historical discourse in mainstream newspapers, the Black Canadian press, trade publications, and censorship documents, I argue that a nationalistic investment in the idea that Canada is utterly distinct from the United States has historically ensured the contrary.

Sasha’s document is available for download here.

**Please do not circulate without permission.**
Email either Sophie (sophielynch@uchicago.edu) or Tanya (tanyad@uchicago.edu) for the password.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,
Sophie and Tanya


Sasha Crawford-Holland is a PhD student in the Department of Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Chicago, where he researches documentary practices and media technologies that comprise the visual culture of imperialism. His work has been published in Television & New Media and Synoptique and was awarded Screen‘s essay prize for best debut article.

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