The University of Iowa

Slavery in Global Cinema – Oct. 28

October 22nd, 2010

The next “Slavery in Global Cinema” film series screening will be held Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. in 2520D UCC. It is free and open to the public.

This series from the University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies allows audiences to explore the history and meaning of slavery practices through a variety of documentaries, feature-length films and personal accounts by filmmakers.

This week’s films are:

The Life & Times of Sara Baartman (1998) 52 min. This documentary traces the fascinating story of a 20-year-old Khoi Khoi woman who was taken from South Africa in 1810, and then exhibited as a freak across Britain as “The Hottentot Venus.” In 1814 she was taken to France, and became the object of scientific and medical research that formed the bedrock of European ideas about black female sexuality. Using historical drawings, cartoons, legal documents, and interviews with noted scholars, this film deconstructs the social, political, scientific and philosophical assumptions which transformed one young African woman into a representation of savage sexuality and racial inferiority. Directed by Zola Maseko.

The Return of Sara Baartman (2002) 52 min. This documentary continues the story told in “The Life and Times of Sara Baartman“ after her death. After years of lobbying by South Africans, in 2002, Baartman’s remains were officially handed back to the South African people at an emotionally charged ceremony at the country’s Embassy in Paris and, on August 9 (National Women’s Day), she was ceremonially buried on the banks of the Gamtoos River. In English and French with English subtitles; closed captioned in English. Directed by Zola Maseko.

UI professors Elke Stockreiter, Catherine Komisaruk and Leslie Schwalm, all from the UI Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and specialists in the study of slavery, will introduce each film.

For more information, contact Leslie Schwalm at or 319-335-2299.