Race, religion, and documentary film

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter uses Ingagi and The Silent Enemy, both independent films released in 1930, to examine the intersections of race and religion in the context of American documentary film conventions. The filmmakers claimed documentary status for their films, despite the fact that both were largely scripted and contained staged representations. Many audience members and critics nevertheless took their representations of the religious practices of Africans and Native Americans to be truthful and invested in the films’ authenticity because their visual codes, narratives, and advertising confirmed accepted stereotypes about race, religion, and capacity for civilization. Examining these two films in the context of the broader history of documentary representations of race and religion–from travelogues, adventure, ethnographic, and expeditionary films through more recent productions–this chapter explores how the genre has helped to shape and communicate ideas about race and religion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in American History
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780190221171
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Authenticity
  • Documentary
  • Film
  • Ingagi
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Representation
  • The silent enemy
  • Travelogue


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