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Aliens, cyborgs and other invisible men: Hollywood's solutions to the black 'problem' in sf cinema


Drawing on the racial discourses of W.E.B. Du Bois in Souls of Black Folk (1903) and 'The Comet' (1920), this article examines the containment and commodification of the black protagonist in Hollywood sf cinema starting with The World, The Flesh, and the Devil (1959) and ending with I Am Legend (2007) to discredit the notion that the race 'problem' has been solved by the 'colour-blind', 'post-racial' society. While each section of the article emphasises a specific strategy to contain and commodify the protagonist, from introjected racism to masking, the splitting of the self, and the recontextualisation of slavery, the analyses of the films shows these strategies form an interrelated and continuous approach that requires black actors to labour under a perpetual disadvantage.

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