The depiction of indigenous African cultures as other in contemporary, Western natural history film

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


Images of the indigenous other have always been used in accord with the imperialistic movements of the Western world. Filmmakers continue to use the basic model of depicting people of indigenous cultures as exotic and more primitive than people of Western cultures with the effect of validating Western values and reinforcing the perceived superiority/authority of Western values over other value systems. This form is readily apparent in the treatment of the indigenous people of Africa in natural history films from the inception of the medium to present day. I will examine films from the 1920s through the present day. If filmmakers are to create successful natural history films that incorporate people of indigenous cultures, they must critically study the histories and mythologies that inform these films in order to avoid making the same mistakes.


Grizzly is a film that is part of the student's thesis project.



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