ANTH 1914W: From "O Brother Where Art Thou?" to "12 Years a Slave": American Cinema and American Roots Music

3 CreditsFreshman SeminarRace, Power, and Justice in the United StatesWriting Intensive

This seminar focuses on the ways in which popular culture (movies and other visual media) presents and comments upon southern American \"roots\" music. Although the music had deep roots in the American past, it also underwent dramatic transformations with the coming of industrial capitalism to the South and as a result of the commercial recording process itself, especially in the 1920s. This music continues to shape popular music today, and it continues to be a focus of cinematic attention. In this seminar we will focus on three sets of issues. First, we will consider the music in terms of the historical contexts that shaped it. Second, we will consider the question of how popular cinema and documentary films interpret (in sometimes problematic ways) this music, and what the politics of those representations might be. Third, we will attempt to understand musical genres and the movies in which they are featured in relation to the production of race, class and gender, and the experience of inequality in the United States.

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All Instructors

A- Average (3.509)Most Common: A (36%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

50 students
  • 2.42


  • 2.50


  • 3.90


  • 3.10


  • 3.33



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