Connecticut College News

Back to Current News

Downs' review was the top read story on the Chronicle's site

01/15/2010

 'Precious' is a popular feature film about an abused <br>and illiterate African-American teenager.

'Precious' is a popular feature film about an abused
and illiterate African-American teenager.

Jim Downs, assistant professor of history and American studies at Connecticut College, discusses "Precious," a popular feature film about an abused and illiterate African-American teenager, in an opinion piece published Dec. 13 in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Downs' review was the top read story and the second most e-mailed on the Chronicle's site the morning the story came out.

In the piece, Downs questions whether a movie like "Precious" can spark social change. Instead, he argues, the film is more likely to reinforce stereotypes.

"Within the context of African-American cultural production, Precious lacks the social critique and political message that defined previous landmark works," Downs writes. "Precious floats in the stratosphere of amorphous political agendas, and has a better chance of anchoring itself onto a stereotype than mobilizing a movement. While well-intentioned people may exit the theater with a genuine and heartfelt concern for young women living in the inner cities, their hopes do not have a clearly defined campaign to funnel into."

He adds, "It is more likely that Precious will become, whether intentionally or not, a powerful illustration of life among the black, urban poor. And viewers who have not been widely exposed to the varieties of humankind and the vagaries of American existence will not limit their assumptions to ´black, urban poor´; for them, to be black is necessarily to be urban and poor."

-Amy Martin

 

 

For media inquiries, please contact:
Matt Engelhardt (860) 439-2505, mengelha@conncoll.edu
Deborah MacDonnell (860) 439-2504, dmacdonn@conncoll.edu



You might also like...


Author to discuss ‘Sex and the Founding Fathers’


Connecticut College earns top honors as an LGBTQ-friendly campus


Dave Goldblatt ’06 set to die in ‘Game of Thrones’ saga


Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh to discuss U.S. foreign policy, human rights


Matt Luciani ’16 explores the environmental history of the American southwest


Summer research takes Christine Connolly ’16 to Brown – and back to the 16th and 17th centuries


Ferguson ‘teach-in’ inspires students to take action against racial injustice


Connecticut College names Pamela Dumas Serfes vice president for Communications