Glenn Reynolds, Mount Saint Mary College associate
history professor, will kick off the college’s Investigating
Research on Campus (iROC) series with “Colonial Cinema in
Africa: Catholic Missionary Filmmaking” on September 8 at
The talk will take place in the Kaplan Family Library and
Learning Center at the Mount, 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh. It is free
and open to the public.
This talk explores post-World War II Catholic filmmaking in
Africa within the broader context of Colonial Cinema. Before the
independence era in Africa – roughly 1957 to 1966 –films made in
the continent were almost solely produced by white people. Reynolds
will provide a brief typology of filmmaking before independence and
will argue that missionaries played a prominent role in bringing
the camera into play across the broad expanse of the continent.
“This research began about two years ago with visits to the
Maryknoll archives in Ossining, N.Y., and the Smithsonian Human
Studies Film Archives in Suitland, Md.,” explained Reynolds. “Using
the films as a foundation, I spent my Spring 2016 sabbatical
tracking a few of Fr. Gordon Fournier’s film expeditions between
1948 and 1954, and his efforts to create an African Film
Reynolds graduated from the University of California-Berkeley in
1986 with a degree in political science, and then attended
SUNY-Stonybrook where he was awarded a PhD in history in 2005. With
a focus on colonial films studies, his dissertation was on the
origins of mass black film spectatorship in Africa. Reynolds’
research has yielded three books and highlights the pivotal role of
missionaries in Africa serving to bring films into Africa, and to
produce vocational films for audiences back home.
The goal of the Mount’s iROC seminar series is to “provide a
forum for Mount faculty, staff, and students to present research
proposals, preliminary data, and completed projects,” explained
Douglas A. Robinson, associate professor of biology and coordinator
of the program. The iROCs feature various academic fields.