Posted by: Naima | January 31, 2010

The “T” Word

Here at Bates, almost every student graduates having done a few things. Among them might be jumping in the freezing puddle, enjoying one of Brad’s fantastic made-to-order omelettes, and returning to the library arcade the morning after the 80s dance to collect lost belongings. And then there’s the Senior Thesis, a final paper that is dreamt up and researched entirely by the student while overseen by an advisor for one or two semesters. It’s qualification as a class allows students to completely immerse themselves in the topic they’ve chosen. Many see the paper as a conclusion to their academic time at Bates, a collaboration of past and present thought, four years in 100 pages. Over 96% of Bates students write a thesis their senior year.

As a senior whose major requires a thesis, I’ve met with my advisor to cultivate the form of my paper. In order to combine what I’ve learned in both my major and minor (African American Studies and Rhetoric), I’ve chosen to explore the roles black women play in Spike Lee films. This rhetorical analysis will help me to prove that Spike Lee’s use of black women may undermine his role as a cinematic activist. My thesis will include in depth analysis of three Spike Lee Joints: She’s Gotta Have It, Girl 6, and She Hate Me.

Spike Lee has embraced the role of an activist who uses film as a medium to expose inequities. He has said numerous times that images have an impact on the communities that consume them. Statements like those are what have driven me to explore the consistent use of black women as purely sexual beings in Spike Lee Joints. Here’s the trailer for She Hate Me, one of the films I will be writing about.

While there is definitely a culture of thesis being to most stressful thing next to finding a job after graduation, I’m actually excited about this. My advisor is fantastic and he has done a lot of work with rhetorical film analysis through the lenses of race, gender, and sexuality. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly, but I also keep reminding myself to take a couple deep breaths now and then.

Peace and then some,


Video collected from



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