Author to discuss black masculinity in Bates talk

Author, filmmaker, writer and professor Melvin B. Donalson, a member of the Bates Class of 1973, will give a lecture titled Black Masculinity in American Cinema at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 12, Keck Classroom (G52), Pettengill Hall. The public is invited to attend the talk free of charge.

Donalson is the author of Black Directors in Hollywood (University of Texas Press, 2003), the first comprehensive look at the work of black directors in Hollywood from pioneers such as Gordon Parks, Melvin Van Peebles and Ossie Davis to contemporary figures including Spike Lee, John Singleton, Kasi Lemmon and Carl Franklin. Called “a groundbreaking and convincing study” by Library Journal, the book presents 67 individuals and more than 135 films. Donalson thoroughly explores how black directors’ storytelling skills and film techniques have widened both the thematic focus and visual style of American cinema. Assessing the meanings and messages in their films, he effectively demonstrates that black directors are balancing Hollywood’s demand for box office success with artistic achievement and responsibility to ethnic, cultural and gender issues.

Donalson edited Cornerstones: An Anthology of African American Literature (St. Martin’s Press, 1996) and wrote the novel The River Woman (Fithian Press, 1988). An associate professor of English at Pasadena City College and adjunct professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles, Donalson teaches courses about African American literature, film as dramatic literature and images of women in literature. He is also a filmmaker whose work has been shown at nine film festivals and broadcast on Showtime Network’s Black Filmmakers Showcase. He received a master’s degree from the University of Iowa and a doctoral degree from Brown University.

Donalson’s talk is sponsored by the Department of Religion and Philosophy, the African American and American cultural studies programs, the humanities division, Amandla! and the Office of the Dean of Students.

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