The Oscar Micheaux Society is dedicated to the advancement of early African American cinema. Although it is named for the prolific director/producer/writer, the mission of the organization is to promote research and scholarship about other producers of African descent working in the U.S. in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Since the late 1960s, a resurgent interest in the films and novels of Oscar Micheaux has caused a groundswell in publications, screening series, and conferences dedicated to this mammoth figure of independently produced Race Films from our segregationist past. While this energy has successfully raised Micheaux’s public profile (he is now the subject of a popular biography and a USPS commemorative stamp), his unique and fascinating films still raise a number of important and unresolved questions for scholars thinking about cinema’s relationship to social history (e.g. black politics and black modernity) and aesthetics (e.g. narrative form and auteurism). The purpose of the Oscar Micheaux Society Scholarly Interest Group (OMS SIG) is to bring such scholars together in an effort to further the study of the entire Micheaux milieu as well as broader African American film culture of the early 20th century. With roots that span from issues of representation, to jazz, to genre, this is a rich and varied terrain; OMS SIG provides common ground for interested members of SCMS and provides a common border with a number of related fields (American and African-American Studies, U.S. History, Art History, etc.).
The organization meets annually at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference as a Scholarly Interest Group. In the past, the Micheaux Society has published a newsletter in print form and it is in the process of conversion to a web format for wider circulation.
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Allyson Nadia Field and Ken Eisenstein
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