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Deutschlandjahr Event

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Deutschlandjahr Event


RSVP for the Leo Baeck Institute's Deutschlandjahr event in collaboration with UC San Diego.

A lecture by Professor Charles Musser.

Racism in American and German Cinema of the Twenties:  From the Ancient Law to Blackface in The Jazz Singer.

The problem of assimilation is central to modern Jewish history.  In E. A. Dupont’s silent film The Ancient Law (1923), the Orthodox Jew Baruch Mayer leaves Galicia for Vienna, where he pursues a career in acting. The Jazz Singer (1927), Alan Crosland’s pioneering sound film, is a loose adaptation of The Ancient Law with a twist.  The film’s main character is played by the American Jewish actor Al Jolson, who performs in blackface. Initially praised by many African-Americans, The Jazz Singer has recently been disparaged as racist. In this lecture Professor Charles Musser addresses the historical and contemporary perspectives on both films.  He situates the two films in the wider context of the cinema of the 1920s, and he considers how each film addresses antisemitism as well as the burning question of the history of blackface as a theatrical convention. Musser is a professor of American Studies, Film & Media Studies and Theatre Studies at Yale University and the author of numerous articles and books, including the prize-winning The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907. 

Light refreshments to be served.

This event is part of the Year of German-American Friendship, initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
Ticket Information Ticket Price
General Admission Free



Map UC San Diego Atkinson - Hall Auditorium, UCSD Northpoint, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, United States
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