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Editors: Novotny Lawrence & Gerald Butters
Between 1970 and 1975, black and white directors made so-called “Blaxploitation” movies to profit from African American audiences. They took the film industry by storm in the brief period of time following the collapse of the studio system. While films like Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971), Shaft (1971), Super Fly (1972), and Foxy Brown (1973) earned substantial revenue at the box-office, demonstrating the value of the black movie going audience, many of the films were marred by controversy. Some African American community leaders and organizations, critics, and scholars perceived them as overly reliant on sex, violence, and drug use. In conjunction with sudden glut and overexposure of these films and the emergence of the Hollywood blockbuster, the controversy ultimately led to the demise of Blaxploitation. Just as quickly as Blaxploitation movies burst onto the cinematic landscape, they vanished, casting many of the movement’s major players into relative obscurity. Importantly, left an indelible mark on popular culture as is evidenced by the period’s sustained influence in domains like filmmaking, television, new media, music, and fashion.
This issue of the Journal of Popular Culture will focus on Blaxploitation in terms of its significance in the 1970s, as well as the myriad ways in which the movement has and continues to influence popular culture. The essays will go beyond traditional conceptions of Blaxploitation with the distinct goal of helping to fill in the gaps that exist in the scholarship focusing on this highly important, yet oft overlooked period. For example, what do films produced during this movement in the 1970s reveal about filmmaking and the African American experience at that time and beyond? Who or what was exploited during this period? How does the movement continue to influence media forms like television series, video games, and new media? What has Blaxploitation’s impact been on hip-hop music? How did/does inform World Cinema?
Manuscripts fitting this issue’s theme are sought from a broad array of disciplinary orientations, including (but not limited to) film and television studies, new media studies, the humanities, political economy, communications, cultural studies, sociology, and marketing.
Deadline for Submissions:
Please send abstracts (500 words) to novotnyl(at)iastate.edu and gbutters(at)aurora.edu by September 1, 2018.
Completed articles will be due January 14, 2019, and should be between 5000 and 7500 words in length. Authors should consult The Journal of Popular Culture’s “Submission Guidelines” for details on format and citation style.