From the 1915 release of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to the present, cinema has been a crucial medium through which cultural producers have advanced and contested concepts of ethnoracial and national identity in the US. This course adopts a historically-grounded practice of media criticism to understand the ideology and iconography of both Hollywood's studio system and independent cinema. The course requires students to examine film and identity through multiple, racial, methodological and theoretical lenses, including film history, and film and media theory. Focus will be the cinematic politics and poetics of racial exclusion and inclusion, empathy and disidentification, power and resistance, and the shaping of a national "imagined community." We will pursue how ideas about class, sexuality, gender, and disability have informed ideologies concerning race and nation. Classes will be divided between lecture, film viewings, and, most importantly, class discussions.