REEL POLITICS: Film, Radical Politics, and Solidarity. | College of Arts

REEL POLITICS: Film, Radical Politics, and Solidarity.

Date and Time


Virtual Event

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Film and filmmakers have been instrumental in articulating radical political discourses since the early 20th century.  As a tool of representing revolutionary struggles, as a form of activism, or as a means of critique, film is a medium of political praxis which presents diverse images of potential worlds, be they cautionary or aspirational.  Reel Politics asks how film can function to galvanize forms of resistance and to build solidarity in audiences by contextualizing important political moments and by making them real.

But we must take care – film is of course not always radically oriented and may often be used contra both radicalism and solidarity.  Film, while a means of realizing important progressive or radical political goals, also has a powerful capacity to reinforce the politics of exploitation, hierarchy, and injustice.

Historically, film has functioned more frequently as a tool for oppressive propaganda than as a means of liberation, and its capacity for positive change is often contradicted by the circumstances of its production in political economy – the prominence of The Birth of a Nation relative to that of Salt of the Earth, for example, speaks to this predicament.  In the hands of reactionary forces or agents of anti-progressive ideas, film quite readily becomes a celebration of ideologies of domination and violence.  

Reel Politics will provide a platform for critiquing the oppressive uses of film, and for exploring its potential as a means of envisioning a more radical and revolutionary political theory. 

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.