AFR 253
Black British Music and Visual Culture 1970s-1990s Spring 2022
Division II
Cross-listed MUS 249 / AFR 253
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Taking the original 1988 Black Film, British Cinema conference as a starting point, this class will draw on independent film, music, and literature to ask more important questions about the Black British cultural landscape and media politics. We will specifically engage this conference to ask what ‘Black Britishness’ means in Britain as an imperial nation and to examine the aesthetics strategies used by Black filmmakers and cultural producers. In honing radical and Leftist filmmaking, Thatcherism (in conversation with Reaganomics), and the race riots in London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Liverpool throughout the 1980s, this course explores how Black audiovisual cultures disrupted the British landscape and affectively engaged the spectator by showing diasporic conditions. We will look at the impact of Reggae Sound Systems and the role of sound as a mode of knowledge production. By looking at collectives such as Black Audio Film Collective, Sankofa Film and Video Collective, and Ceddo Film and Video Workshop, we delve into broader questions of identity formation, documentary realism, and the mixture of conventional and avant-garde styles in cinema and music. John Akomfrah, DJ Norman Jaye, Jazzy B, Isaac Julien, Joan Armatrading, Horace Ové, Martina Attille, and Ngozi Onwerah will be used to show how Black British cultural production makes a more considerable contribution to global perspectives on Black music, film, and cinema.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 10
Class#: 3906
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation, ten 2 to 3-page responses to reading/film/music. Final project: presentation of a mock syllabus.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: If course is overenrolled, preference given to Africana studies concentrators.
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
MUS 249 Division I AFR 253 Division II

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