Racialized Disgust and Embodied Cognition in Film

in Projections
Author: Dan Flory 1
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  • 1 Montana State University dflory@montana.edu
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Abstract

This article argues that cognitive film theory has largely overlooked the phenomenon of disgust insofar as it can be racialized, but could be developed to account for it. Critical race theory, especially in its analytic mode, has similarly failed to offer an account of racialized disgust, although some thinkers in the phenomenological tradition have analyzed related phenomena. The article proposes to reconcile these three research areas by drawing on recent work concerning disgust and arguing for its relevance to viewers’ reactions to depictions of race in film, thereby developing an improved set of diagnostic tools for the analysis of cinematic spectatorship. The method used is analytic philosophy of film. The analysis reveals that many viewers embody their sense of race through disgust reactions and that these reactions constitute crucial components regarding how they perceive and understand narrative characters in film.

Contributor Notes

Dan Flory is Professor of Philosophy at Montana State University. He is co-editor (with Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo) of Race, Philosophy, and Film (Routledge, 2013) and author of Philosophy, Black Film, Film Noir (Penn State University Press, 2008). He has also written more than twenty essays on philosophy, critical race theory, and film, which have appeared in venues such as the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Projections, American Quarterly, The Blackwell Companion to Film Noir, The Philosophy of Spike Lee, and The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film.

Projections

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