Miriam Petty

MIRIAM PETTY (BAI Brown Bag Lunch Series)

“Old Folks at Home: Nostalgia, Black Ancestors and the American South in the Films of Tyler Perry.”

This talk will address fundamental meanings of the American South in Tyler Perry’s films, with particular emphasis upon Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005); and Madea’s Family Reunion (2006). These early films especially, establish Perry’s authorship of cinematic narratives of reverse African American migration, and mobilize key ancestor figures in tandem with geographical space to craft a complex kind of nostalgia for his target audiences. We’ll explore the way that Perry’s alter ego Madea is a central site of this nostalgia, even as she can be supplanted and even replaced by other more “legitimate” cinematic and racial ancestor figures.

Friday, February 3rd, 2016, 12pm
Kresge 1515

Lunch provided
RSVP recommended, to RSVP email bai@northwestern.edu


Miriam Petty has taught and lectured widely on film, African American literature, and Black popular culture. A 2006-2009 fellow of Princeton University’s Society of Fellows, her recent projects include Race.Place.Space., a documentary film festival in Trenton, New Jersey, that she curated on behalf of Princeton’s Center for African American Studies. She was also a Geraldine R. Dodge Fellow at Rutgers-Newark’s Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, for which she developed and implemented Watching Carefully, a two-year city initiative geared toward the improvement of media literacy among adults and children. Her book Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood (University of California Press), explores the complex relationships between black audiences and black performers in the classical Hollywood era. Petty’s courses include African American Stardom, Introduction to Film Noir, and The Authorship of Tyler Perry.