BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Contending that Marvel’s “Black Panther” movie is more than just a blockbuster Hollywood film, a Roger Williams University professor is teaching an entire class about the movie.
The class — called “Wakanda Forever: The Racial Politics in Marvel’s ‘Black Panther'” — is studying the racial context and implications of the movie.
The school said the film, which centers around the fictional African nation of Wakanda, is not just an entertaining superhero movie but also an invaluable opportunity for discussing the politics of race and racism in the United States and beyond.
“The film itself is raising real questions about power and equity,” Assistant Professor of American Studies Aaron C. Allen said. “For example, the character of Erik Kilmonger is an African-American who has been disavowed from his home country but realizes that Wakanda’s technology can liberate all black people around the world.”
The students aren’t just learning about the film — which just won three Oscars — but also about who was involved in its creation.
“Circulating the film is the power of an all-black cast in the production phase — the major players being black themselves, so having a little bit more creative control about some of the topics they want to tackle in a way that they have agency to do,” Allen said.