Deborah Willis, Ph.D.”Re-imagining Gender, Place and Race in the Making of Gone with the Wind” Zora Neale Hurston Lecture


Monday March 23rd , 2015

6:00pm- 8:00pm

Columbia University School of Journalism  

3rd Floor Lecture Hall – 2950 Broadway

“Re-imagining Gender, Place and Race in the Making of Gone with the Wind”
University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging
at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University

2015 marks the 75th anniversary of the making of the film Gone With the Wind. New York University professor, Deborah Willis will consider a comparative perspective of the historic film and the role photography and art played in re-membering and restaging events from the Civil War and American Slavery before and after Emancipation. Taking cues from the recent 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation

, this talk also examines the public’s memory of Slavery through photographs and how images influenced the making of the film. Professor Willis will present overlapping historical narratives from popular culture to literary text making visible the complexities of the film.

This lecture will weave a narrative on the history of American photography during its early years with iconic moments in the film looking closely at the role black American history played in making this film both controversial and celebratory. Willis will include Civil War images and 20th century video clips of scenes from the film, clips of Hattie McDaniel and Carol Burnett’s skit, Went with the Wind.

New York University professor Deborah Willis will weave together a narrative of the early years of American photography and film with a reading of iconic moments in Gone With the Wind. In rendering visible the complexities of the film, Professor Willis will also examine the role history played in producing such a controversial and celebrated cultural phenomenon.


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Contact Information
Columbia University

Institute for Research in African-American Studies

1200 Amsterdam Avenue, 758 Schermerhorn Ext – MC5512

New York, NY 10027


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