Debating the Four Feathers
A.E.W. Mason’s the Four Feathers (1902) remains the most filmed book of the twentieth century. The question behind this seminar will be to ask: why? My central concern is that of gender, specifically the imbrications of “gender, race, and empire.” Which is the better question: how does a racialized imperial venture play itself out in the context of gender? Or how does a gendered imperial venture play itself out in the context of race? In order to discuss what story, if any, the different versions are telling about women and war, Africa, and African women we will study at least four different versions of the film from 1929, 1939, 1977 and 2002. Literary texts and the films they inspire are cultural texts which provide rich fields of meaning, and our own debates in the classroom will provide an opportunity to debate their universe of moral obligations.