ENGL 357
Spirits of Rebellion: The L.A. Rebellion Filmmakers Spring 2019 Division I; Cross-listed as ENGL357 / AMST359 / AFR351

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When Beyoncé unveiled the Lemonade visual album in 2016, her production captured the artistic spirit and gave new life to an earlier work: Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991), a luminous film about three generations of the Gullah people and the first motion picture by a Black woman to obtain wide theatrical release in the United States. Many, however, are unaware of the decades-long cinematic movement to which Dash belongs. In this course, we will devote our critical inquiry to the creative output of the L.A. Rebellion, a group of Black cinematic artists trained at the UCLA Film and Television School between the 1960s and 1990s. Our visual journey will take us through a diverse set of filmmakers like Charles Burnett, Ben Caldwell, Barbara McCullough, Julie Dash, Zeinabu irene Davis, Haile Gerima, Alile Sharon Larkin, Billy Woodberry, among many, many others, and how they sought to not only redefine the Black image on-screen but also reimagine the infinite possibilities of Blackness. We will pay close attention to the heterogeneity of genres, styles, and techniques that they put into practice from narrative to neorealism to documentary to avant-garde/experimental to African and African American musical and storytelling traditions. We will explore the various social and political issues that were represented by their films including: racial and class oppression, woman of color feminisms, Black Power, Afrocentrism, anti-colonialism and decolonization, police brutality and mass incarceration, radical social movements and coalition building, and the importance of community-based art and film practices. Finally, we will touch upon some of the recent works that have been inspired by the L.A. Rebellion, including the aforementioned Lemonade and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight (2016). Our viewership will be supplemented with readings in Black social and cultural criticism.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3017
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance and participation; weekly online journal responses (1-2 pages); midterm essay (5-7 pages); final project
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: previous courses in American Studies, critical studies in race and ethnicity or cultural studies, or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: American Studies majors
Distributions: Division I;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST or AFR; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora; AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives;

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