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American Studies
The Great Dictator in the Age of Trump

The Great Dictator in the Age of Donald Trump | Charlie Chaplin Film Criticism

If you're struggling with events unfolding in the US (and our own poor record re: refugees) then I suggest you watch Charlie Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' (1940) today. It's an easy defence to point to people in the past and simply say, 'well, everyone was a bit racist back then, we can't judge them on today's standards'. ...

Guardians of the Forest: The Failure of the Magna Carta in Colonial America

Following on from the seismic news that the UK has voted to leave the EU, this new episode of The Artist in American History deconstructs the failure of early English settlers to adhere to the spirit of the Magna Carta upon their arrival in North America.  Despite being widely proclaimed as one of England's greatest ...

Do the Right Thing

Reassessing Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

  Brash, vibrant, provocative and insightful - there are many reasons to revisit Spike Lee's 1989 street ballet, Do the Right Thing.  But perhaps the most important -at least for now- is the way in which that film speaks to much deeper issues in modern American society.  After a tumultuous period in which ...

The Politics of Star Wars

The Politics of Star Wars

In the latest episode of season three of The Artist in American History we examine the surprisingly deep politics of the original Star Wars film.  From the importance of guerrilla fighters in the post-Vietnam era to the arrogance of technologically superior empires, the original Star Wars was a surprisingly deep affair ...

Imagining the World of Tomorrow

In the latest episode of The Artist in American History (season three), Darren considers the role of science fiction writers and filmmakers as they frame the problems of today through imagined worlds in the future.  In particular, this episode focuses upon the recent film Chappie and the ways in which it uses the coming ...

The Artist in American History Podcast

The Artist in American History – A Podcast About Art, Gender, Class, and Race in America

  The Artist in American History is a podcast series which explores class, race, and gender in American through the lens of the artist.  This series includes lectures on topics such as race in comic books, gender in Disney movies, and the ways in which modern society is reflected in the fiction we love to ...

Pop Culture Reviews and Analysis

Pop Culture Reviews

In between producing my first feature length documentary and creating content for The Artist in American History podcast series I like to look at new and old films, music, art, and literature.  In these reviews and retrospectives, I look at the themes and ideas from a variety of perspectives.  I cannot tell you if a ...

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