African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

The Black Leading Lady: Olivia Pope and ABC’s Scandal

Screening Blackness: Film, Television and Race

Mon, October 13, 2014 | ISESE Gallery

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Screening Blackness: Film, Television and Race
The Black Leading Lady: Olivia Pope and ABC’s Scandal
John L. Warfield Center For African and African American Studies
ISESE Gallery, Warfield Center – Jester Center A230
October 13, 20, 27, 2014
12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
When Scandal premiered in April 2012, ABC became the first major network to feature a Black female protagonist in a primetime drama in nearly forty years. The show follows Olivia Pope who, with her team of associates, manages the public relations crises of Washington D.C.’s elite while hiding her own illicit interracial affair with the President of the United States. Created by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s AnatomyPrivate Practice), Scandal is one of the highest rated dramas currently on television making Olivia Pope, arguably, one of the most influential figures for contemporary Black female representation.
Join us for a three-part series that explores the way Scandal navigates complex issues surrounding race, gender, and sexuality. Each week will begin with a screening of a selected episode, followed immediately by a guided discussion led by Nicole Martin, PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
Week One, October 13, 2014
“Desirability and Sexuality: Scripting the Black Leading Lady”
Watch: “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” (Season 2, Episode 8)
This week will discuss the function of Olivia Pope’s sexuality in crafting a black female protagonist.
Week 2, October 20, 2014
“Navigating Patriarchy: Black Masculinity, White Masculinity and Black Womanhood”
Watch: “A Door Marked Exit” (Season 3, Episode 10)
This week will interrogate the assertion of power through character navigation of patriarchy.
Week 3, October 27, 2014
“Toward Freedom: Black Feminisms and Black Female Representation”
Watch: “The Price of a Free and Fair Election” (Season 3, Episode 18)
This week will consider how to write and read for resistance in representations of black female subjectivity.
Facilitator Bio
Nicole L. Martin is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a M.A. in Communication from Arizona State University, (with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Performance Studies) and a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests focus on the relationship between visibility, gender, race, identity and the state. She will defend her dissertation, (In)Valuable (In)Visibility: Black Leading Ladies and the Performance of Dissenting Discourse, in May 2015. Nicole is also a dramaturg and a performing artist. 
Light snacks will be provided!

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