The central theme in The Archive Effect entails the examination and analysis of challenges of representation present in the correctness of archival papers and video footage for storage and reference purposes. Baron argues in his work that the importance and meaning of archived documents can be manipulated. The explanation goes further to describe the continuous transformation to the sources that persist. The secretive collections, online information bases, and several video sites are sources of complications that interfere with the old-day archives (Baron 1). The progressive act of altering the databases needs to be reformulated and repurposed. The author’s thesis focuses on the difference between formal archival documents and compilation and footage movies, claiming that all could be biased, but only written sources are usually granted official status.
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Scope of Argument and Evidence
The basic argument is understanding what seems responsible for footage to get the definition of archival. The impacting feature within which a film is produced compares shots professed as created at different periods. Baron starts by giving a snapshot of various periods of American history, but then the author shifts readers’ attention to World War II (1, 6). Several case studies like Hersonski’s movie of Nazis’ terrible actions in Poland and Burn’s documentary about this war were presented by the author (Baron 5, 6). These two case studies are the perfect number not to overwhelm the audience with facts. Moreover, the author compares the validity of written manuscripts and archival films. Although these sources are considered closer to the investigated events, both could be subject to the bias of creators and viewers. Therefore, he argues that archival papers, photos, audio recordings, and videos should be recognized as archival documents regardless of formal approval from an official organization.
Connections Between Ideas and Evidence
The analysis suggests that not only written documents but also compilation movies and found footage films should be considered as official archival sources. Indeed, Baron states that the modern world should revise the definition “of “the archival document” as an experience of reception rather than an indication of official sanction or storage location” (7). The reason he promotes this idea is that naming can have a different influence on people learning about a specific historical situation, creating the “archive effect” (Baron 11). Furthermore, the author demonstrates that both types of sources provide a narrative about a sequence of events (Baron 10). Since all of them are produced by the spectators of a particular period, human bias is inevitable. Hence, documentaries should also receive the status of archival documents to raise their importance for education and research.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The arguments are based on scientific research, and it is evident that there is an analysis of challenges establishing it on an examination background. The comparison conducted indicates that the author presented enough data for interpretation. The main strength of this work is that it offers clear arguments for considering documentaries and compilation movies as archival documents. However, its main weakness is that the author does not expand the idea of bias in both types of sources. Instead, he focuses more on the audience’s perception about documents that may or may not be labeled by a formal organization. Lastly, the author could elaborate more on the validity of information in the documentary films that he exemplifies.
Week 12 Reading
Central Thesis and Argument
The central themes of this chapter are racism and feminism. Specifically, the author talks about how the black woman was diminished in American movies and not supposed to glare at the white administrators. The act of looking depicts a critical power of white people; thus, it was prohibited for black slaves. The contesting appraisals also show the duplication of conventional male-controlled cinematic activities that represent the black ladies as an instrument of a phallocentric stare (Hooks 117). The substitution of white ladies with African American women led the author to investigate the ladies’ spectatorship. The blacks use the staring ability and power to distort the authority subtleties as the white films use in criticizing the obscurity of the media platforms. The oppositional scrutiny operates by creating a relatively objective image demonstration of African Americans in the cinema by inventing an independent black film. The central thesis focuses on how blacks were devalued, seen as slaves, and had no right to glance at the whites because gaze was perceived as a sense of power.
Scope of the Argument
The author discusses the issues of racism and feminism by evaluating the root cause of female racism that she believes to be the gaze. In fact, slaves were not allowed to glare at their masters and any action related to staring deserved punishment (Hooks 115). Moreover, the author claims that the black woman’s chances of participating in movies got restricted since they could look deeply into matters under concern. There was cinematic discrimination, and African American females were used as supporting objects in films rather than as characters that bring meaning and value (Hooks 119). For instance, in the example of Sapphire, she was employed as a representation to prove that white and black individuals had many common characteristics that were violently rejected by both sides (Hooks 120). The lady’s actions from the two parties simply indicated that black females are tools. The author claims that the evil deed performed on that lady made the black devalue the importance of films. Indeed, the chapter suggests that black women lived in the notion that cinema got created to exploit, seduce, and as an act of betrayal.
The ordinary egalitarians’ cinema censure has interfered with the murky woman spectatorship. It fails to consider the ladies’ opportunity to conceptualize a glare through the thoughtful and mindful politics of discrimination. The feminist cinema approach, grounded in an antique psychoanalytic context that allows the freedom for sexual alterations, enthusiastically subdue race identification and recognition, modernizing and echoing the elimination of blacks (Hooks 117). These actions are evident, and they are seen in cinemas that silence any issue concerned with a racial and gender dissimilarity. Dangerous black spectatorship arises as a place of resistance when the black ladies aggressively battle the imposition of overriding ways of being informed and looking. Overall, the chapter is a theoretical approach to black feminism that is closely associated with the issues of racism in the United States.
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The Use of Evidence
This chapter argues that black women have an outward mental ability to analyze and make informed decisions, but slavery and discrimination prevented them from demonstrating these skills. Ladies were viewed as a background image that could not participate in movie production and the main plot. For instance, the movie about a black girl Peola and her mother fascinated and saddened the spectators (Hooks 121, 122). Indeed, the beautiful actress and her character remained barely revealed in the movie, playing the roles of historical elements in the plot rather than living characters with a story to tell.
The blacks were expected to be submissive and adhere to the instruction provided, and they were not supposed to look at anyone because they lacked power. In fact, gazing was considered to be the privilege of white people. The author believed that the formation of the feminist theory was expected to work on the black side as a form of the trail to eradicate the generational trauma caused by slavery. The ladies had the mental awareness of the life they get exposed to and how it affects them. Thus, some African American women were purposefully trained to acquire an “oppositional gaze” to look critically at these movies (Hooks 122). Discrimination of black females posed a challenge to many, limiting them from actively participating in many social activities.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The main strength of this chapter is that the research is grounded on scientific backgrounds; it is evident that feminism started a long time ago during the colonial era. It further developed after the Civil War and expanded when the oppression of African American women in the film industry was noticed. The weakness of this chapter is that black men got excluded from the author’s consideration. However, they also faced the same challenges and restrictions as black women. The combined discussion about African American men and women could help create a more robust argument about racial inequality in many essential areas of social life.
Baron, Jaime. The Archive Effect: Found Footage and the Audiovisual Experience of History. Routledge, 2014.
Hooks, Bell. “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators.” In Black Looks and Representation. South End Press, 1992, pp. 115-131.