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American Studies
How Star Wars Conquered Christmas

How Star Wars Conquered Christmas | A Star Wars Holiday Special

On December 25th 2016, 120 Odeon cinemas opened across the nation to screen a new Star Wars film, Rogue One. On many levels, the very idea seems to offend traditional British sensibilities - unlike in the United States where Christmas day screenings are common, in the UK this is a relatively rare occurrence. Why would ...

Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissanc

Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance

Perhaps one of the most exciting moments in US history, the Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of art, literature, and performance in New York's Harlem burgh. One of its foremost participants, Langston Hughes, produced some of the greatest poetry of his generation - words which challenged dominant racial stereotypes ...

Banksy and the Art of Protest - Interactive Documentary

Banksy, Da Vinci, and the Art of Protest | Interactive Documentary | Place and Time

Banksy + Da Vinci: A History of Art, Protest, and Resistance | 360° Documentary | Place and Time from Darren Reid on Vimeo. Watch, Learn, and Explore in an interactive 360° documentary about Banksy and the history of protest in art. Power is coded into the lives we live and the world we inhabit. Graffiti and street ...

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 ...

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