Race, Representation, and Cinema

Join filmmaker and educator Rhitu Basu (Nova Scotia, Canada) for a lecture and discussion centered on representational issues around race and culture in Hollywood films. Rhitu is Austin School of Film’s lead educator on Minority Lens course series, studying minority and global cinema.


Antonio Gramsci, an Italian philosopher, described how Western societies have two spheres: the political and the cultural. The first is ruled by force; for example, by-laws and law enforcement. But the cultural sphere exerts power in a different way: here, our ideas, values, and beliefs are shaped by a dominant ideology.

Cinema is a major form of cultural discourse. And the power and influence of Hollywood cinema mean that our ideas about the world are shaped by a very specific, American worldview. This, in turn, has real-world implications. For example, if we only ever see Muslims represented as irrationally violent, we might be more accepting of our government’s wars in the Middle East. If we only ever see Black men as criminals, we might not question our policing system’s brutality against them. If we see Indigenous people represented only as a “dying race” and colonialism as a “past sin,” we may not pay attention when our governments invade their sovereign lands to build pipelines.

Popular cinema reflects dominant ideology, and as such, it is always political. It is therefore vital that we learn to view and read it critically. 

This event will take place on Zoom. Once registered, you will be sent a follow-up email with a Zoom link and additional information.

This event is free and open to the public. However, the suggested donation at check-out is $5. This will directly support the continuation of events such as this. 


Jan 30 2021


2:00 pm - 4:00 pm



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