Arts & Humanities Campus News Society & Culture

Roundtable on ‘12 Years a Slave’ to address depiction of slavery on film

Athens, Ga. – A roundtable panel on director Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. in Room 148 of the Miller Learning Center will bring together University of Georgia faculty members to discuss the Academy Award-nominated 2013 film. The event is the latest in an ongoing series of Cinema Roundtables sponsored by the UGA Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.

The panel of faculty members is Valerie Babb, professor of English and director of the Institute for African American Studies; John Inscoe, Albert B. Saye Professor of History and University Professor; Rielle Navitski, assistant professor of theatre and film studies; and Freda Scott Giles, associate professor of theatre and film studies. Richard Neupert, Wheatley Professor of the Arts, will moderate the discussion.

“12 Years a Slave” is based on an 1853 memoir in which Solomon Northrup, a free African-American born in New York, told the story of his enslavement in Louisiana after being kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841. The film has won numerous honors, including the 2013 Golden Globe Award for Best Picture in the drama category. It has been nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The roundtable will “confront the challenges of adapting Solomon Northrup’s memoir about slavery for contemporary movie audiences,” Neupert said. “Is it good ‘history’? Is it good ‘cinema’?”

The film will be screened at the UGA Tate Center Theatre Feb. 21-23 as part of the University Union Cinematic Arts division’s spring semester film series.

The Willson Center Cinema Roundtable meets to discuss topics of film history, criticism and theory. Neupert, the coordinator of UGA film studies, organizes and moderates the roundtables.

Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research at UGA. In the service of its mission to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts, the Willson Center sponsors and participates in numerous public events on and off the UGA campus throughout the academic year. It supports faculty through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars, visiting artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions and performances. For more information, see