Racquel Gates is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. Racquel Gates received her Ph.D. in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University and has an M.A. in Humanities from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Her research focuses on blackness and popular culture, with special attention to discourses of taste and quality. She is the author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture (Duke, 2018), where she argues that some of the most disreputable representations of black people in popular media can strategically pose questions about blackness, black culture, and American society in ways that more respectable ones cannot. Her work appears in both academic as well as popular publications, some of which include Film Quarterly, Television & New Media, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Root, as well as other journals and collections. 



Ph.D., Northwestern University

M.A., University of Chicago

B.S., Georgetown University

Scholarship / Publications

Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture. Duke University Press (2018).

“Reclaiming Black Film and Media Studies.” Film Quarterly Vol. 72, No. 3 (Spring 2019): 13-15.   
“The Last Shall be the First: Form, Politics, and Reality Television.” Dimensions in Black: Perspectives on Black Film and Media special issue. Film Quarterly Vol. 71, No. 2 (Winter 2018): 38-45.

“Why I Love Reality Television.” The New York Times. September 28, 2018.

“Lena Horne’s Side-eye.” Black One Shot special section. ASAP journal. Eds. Michael Gillespie and Lisa Uddin. June 2018.

“Wakanda Forever: The Pleasures, The Politics, and The Problems.” Co-authored with Kristen Warner. Film Quarterly. March 9, 2018. 5,657 words.

“Bad Mom Theory: Motherhood, Race, and Reality.” The Los Angeles Review of Books. October 21, 2017. 5,162 words.

“Art and Artifact: Pioneers of African-American Cinema and Its Contemporary Relevance.” Film Quarterly Vol. 70, No. 2 (Winter 2016): 88-93.

 “Activating the Negative Image.” Television and New Media. February 13, 2015, doi:10.1177/1527476415569363: 1-15 (electronic). Vol. 16, No. 7 (November 2015): 616-630 (print).

“Subverting Hollywood from the Inside Out: Melvin Van Peebles’s Watermelon Man.” Film Quarterly Vol. 68, No. 1 (September 2014): 9-21.    

“Keeping it Real(ity) Television.” Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences. Ed. Beretta Smith-Shomade (Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2013), 141-156.

“Bringing the Black: Eddie Murphy and African American Humor on Saturday Night Live.”
Saturday Night Live and American TV. Eds. Ron Becker, Nick Marx, and Matt Sienkiewicz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), 151-172.

“Identity Crisis.” In Focus special section of Cinema Journal Vol. 52, No. 4 (Summer 2013): 123-128.


African Americans in the Media
American Directors After 1960: Spike Lee
Film History
Film Theory
Introduction to Film
Media Analysis
Media and the Margins
Nonfiction Film & Television: Reality Television

Film Aesthetics
Film & Media Theory
Mediating Race: Technology, Performance, Politics, and Aesthetics in Popular Culture
Performing Blackness from Stage to Screen