Projecting Blackness

Judith Weisenfeld

in Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195149180
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835386 | DOI:
Projecting Blackness

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This chapter discusses approaches to the co-construction of religion and race in Hollywood films focusing on the case of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s 1929 film Hallelujah. Directed by King Vidor, the film extended popular culture and literary traditions of naturalizing and sanctioning American racial hierarchies through the presentation of an aesthetic of primitive black religion. The chapter examines the production history and reception of the film with attention to discourses about race, religion, and representation, as well as about the relationship between African-American religious practices and civil rights more broadly.

Keywords: religion; race; representation; Hollywood film; popular culture; African American religion; blackness; King Vidor; Hallelujah

Chapter.  10603 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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