'get out' has inspired a college course (and you can take it online)
'The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and Black Horror' explores the history of anti-black racism in cinema.
Universal Studios might not be aware that black horror is even a thing, but Tananarive Due is a master of the overlooked genre. The author and UCLA lecturer is behind a buzzy college course inspired by Jordan Peele’s incredibly nuanced horror film Get Out. “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and Black Horror” was originally announced late last year, and the second semester commences next week. But now you don’t even need to be a student to sign up. Professor Due is making “The Sunken Place” available as a public webinar, consisting of six lectures for an early bird rate of $348.00. Perhaps she’ll provide a discount for members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?
While Get Out provided the spark of inspiration for Due’s course, it’s not the only film through which she’ll explore anti-black racism in cinema. The syllabus also includes lectures on 1972 blaxploitation thriller Blacula, 1995 horror anthology Tales From the Hood, and the explicitly racist 1915 saga Birth of a Nation, which still has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One class will explore how African-Americans “spun the nightmare of slavery and oppression into dreams, art, and music that has changed and inspired the world,” a relatively optimistic concept that’s likely inspired by Due’s interest in Afrofuturism.
“I don’t think a lot of people have even thought that black horror exists,” Due explained to UCLA’s student newspaper, The Daily Bruin. “Since Get Out has gained widespread attention, now is a great time to help highlight why it’s been so successful and where it fits in the larger realm of black horror in general.” Due was particularly fascinated by how the kidnapping in Get Out could be compared to pop culture’s appropriation of black bodies and ideas. “Every time we learn to look beneath the layers of popular culture and the arts, it changes us,” she continued. “In Get Out, survival is one of the central themes, and it resonates with black audience members and artists because for some of us it feels like we’re fighting to survive.”
Sign up for Due’s class here — weekend trips to the countryside not included.