Northwestern Events Calendar

Jan
14
2022

Book panel discussion: Julia Stern's Bette Davis Black and White

When: Friday, January 14, 2022
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM Central

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free!

Contact: Jill Mannor   (847) 467-3970

Group: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Co-Sponsor: English Department

Category: Academic

Description:

Join us for a conversation celebrating the new book by Julia A. Stern, Bette Davis Black and White. Stern will be joined in conversation by Nick Davis, Miriam Petty, Jim Hodge, and Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece.

Co-hosted by the University of Chicago Press, the Northwestern University Department of English, and the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

About the Book

In Bette Davis Black and White, Davis’s career becomes a vehicle for a deep examination of American race relations. Julia A. Stern analyzes four of Davis’s best-known pictures—Jezebel (1938), The Little Foxes (1941), In This Our Life (1942), and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)—against the history of American race relations. Stern also weaves in memories of her own experiences as a young viewer, coming into racial consciousness watching Davis’s films on television in an all-white suburb of Chicago. Davis’s egalitarian politics and unique collaborations with her Black costars offer Stern a window into midcentury American racial fantasy and the efforts of Black performers to disrupt it. A unique combination of history, star study, and memoir, Bette Davis Black and White allows us to contemplate cross-racial spectatorship in new ways.

About the Speakers

Julia A. Stern is Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and professor of English at Northwestern. She is the author of The Plight of Feeling: Sympathy and Dissent in the Early American Novel and Mary Chesnut’s Civil War Epic, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Nick Davis is associate professor of English at Northwestern. He is the author of The Desiring-Image: Gilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema.

Miriam Petty is Associate Dean for Academic Programs at The Graduate School, and associate professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern. She is the author of Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood.

James J. Hodge is associate professor of English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern. He is the author of Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art.

Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece is associate professor and Director of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of The Optical Vacuum: Spectatorship and Modernized American Theater Architecture and coeditor of Ends of Cinema.

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