Honors Projects


Modern race issues stem not only from the past but also from a lack of understanding and empathy for each other. How we talk about race will not only inform how we are able to move forward as a society, but it will also say a great deal about how we are evolving as human beings. It is important, and has been recognized as such, that black Americans have the freedom to grapple with that past, to understand it, and to feel connected to those ancestors who suffered in order for the foundation of this country to be built. Is it then not also important for white Americans to understand and reconcile with that past?

To tackle this question, I have analyzed the film Django Unchained directed by Quentin Tarantino, a white filmmaker, and starring Jamie Fox, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, and Leonardo DiCaprio. This film, like many of Tarantino’s films, has been regarded as a crude, gory, and an inaccurate representation of past events. My goal, though not to defend Tarantino and his habit of speaking freely without remorse, is to find a way to look at the film in a way in which its critics did not. Instead of immediately reacting negatively to the gut-wrenching imagery, I am taking a deeper look at how those images are in line with a history of in-your-face filmmaking that is native to black independent cinema.


Theatre and Film


Film Production

First Advisor

Clayton Rosati

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Lucas Ostrowski

Second Advisor Department

Theatre and Film

Publication Date

Spring 2016

An Unchained Analysis of Racial Tension in America - May 2nd.mp4 (1024770 kB)
This is a collage-style video that is meant to complement and expand upon the ideas in my paper.