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Saving America from Itself? Movie Interventions (Moore, Lee, DuVernay, Kopple):Junior Colloquium

AMST 204
Spring 2022
Section: 01  
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

We will place four interventionist filmmakers--Michael Moore, Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Barbara Kopple--in a strategic dialogue to consider the American studies anti-hoodwinking potential of movies. Their movies have tried to sway elections, empower social movements, inspire protest, popularize national self-critique, study the tactics of top-down power (including scapegoating) and bottom-up resistance, and, perhaps, save America from itself. The many cultural-theoretical payoffs of their movies include moving us beyond any checklist tendency simply to observe representations of gender, race, and class. They help us question why these categories were produced in particular ways and help us interrogate (intersectionally and dialectically) how they interact with, rely on, and sometimes mask one another. Our four independent filmmakers--in trying to be changemakers--dare us not only to take a hard look at what kind of an America we have had and now have, but prod us, at times seduce us, to imagine more expansively what kind of America we might want to create. We will also put their movies in dialogue with related movies by D. W. Griffith, Boots Riley, Robert Reich, and others. And to establish a longue durée historical perspective we will read Howard Zinn's epic A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. In terms of fields, our colloquium integrates movie studies, cultural studies, premises studies, resistance studies, and social transformation studies.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AMST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUL-21-2024
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