Race in American Film
Voices and Visions That Shaped a Nation
by Daniel Bernardi and Michael Green, Editors
July 2017, 1026pp, 7x10
3 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39839-1
$339, £261, 295€, A465
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39840-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How have race and ethnicity in American film evolved over the course of 100 years—and what aspects still remain the same?

This expansive three-volume set investigates racial representation in film, providing an authoritative cross-section of the most racially significant films, actors, directors, and movements in American cinematic history.

Hollywood has always reflected current American cultural norms and ideas. As such, film provides a window into attitudes about race and ethnicity over the last century. This comprehensive set provides information on hundreds of films chosen based on scholarly consensus of their importance regarding the subject, examining aspects of race and ethnicity in American film through the historical context, themes, and people involved.

This three-volume set highlights the most important films and artists of the era, identifying films, actors, or characterizations that were considered racist, were tremendously popular or hugely influential, attempted to be progressive, or some combination thereof. Readers will not only learn basic information about each subject but also be able to contextualize it culturally, historically, and in terms of its reception to understand what average moviegoers thought about the subject at the time of its popularity—and grasp how the subject is perceived now through the lens of history.


  • Views the films via a historical approach in which every subject is considered both through a contemporary lens and in terms of the time of its production and initial reception
  • Provides up-to-date information on recent movies such as Selma (2014), The Fast and The Furious (2001–2015), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Django Unchained (2012), and Lone Survivor (2013)
  • Provides readers with the information and background necessary to form informed views about racial representation in film—still an important "hot-button" subject today
  • Edited by top scholars in the field, Daniel Bernardi and Michael Green, and contains entries by other important experts, such as Andrew Gordon and Priscilla Ovalle
Daniel Bernardi, PhD, is professor of cinema at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Star Trek and History: Race-ing toward a White Future and coauthor of Narrative Landmines: Rumors, Islamist Extremism, and the Struggle for Strategic Influence. Bernardi is also editor of five books on ethnicity and race in American cinema and author of numerous articles on early cinema, U.S. television, and new media.

Michael Green is professor of film studies and screenwriting at Arizona State University. He is the author of numerous articles on identity and culture in film and media.


2017 Best Reference Title—Library Journal, February 28, 2018


"This reference work couldn’t have come at a better time. Its examination of race and racism on screen, from the film industry’s early days to the present, provides historical and cultural context for our current national discussion. . . . These three volumes will be a welcome addition to collections that serve high school and college students as well as individual film buffs and independent scholars."—Booklist, October 15, 2017

"High school and college students, general readers, and film enthusiasts interested in the role of race in U.S. cinema will find this exceptional and well-organized work indispensable."—Library Journal, Starred Review, November 1, 2017

"The essays are consistently readable, and the spectrum of film history covered is impressive. Considering the current political climate and racial tensions that divide the U.S., the set seems an apropos addition to most library collections. North American filmmakers are making progress but, as these essays demonstrate, they still have a long ways to go. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels."—Choice, January 1, 2018

"Overall, however, the scope and quality of entries make for an intelligent and thought-provoking resource. . . . Highly recommended for all film collections."—ARBAonline, November 1, 2017
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