More than one hundred years since it premiered on cinema screens, D. W. Griffith’s controversial photoplay, The Birth of a Nation, continues to influence American film production and to have relevance for race relations in the United States. While lauded at the time of its release for its visual and narrative innovations and a box office hit with film audiences, it provoked African American protest in 1915 for racially offensive content. In this collection of essays, contributors explore Griffith’s film as text, artifact, and cultural legacy and place it into both the historical and transnational contexts of the first half of the 1900s and its resonances with current events in America, such as #BlackLivesMatter, #HollywoodSoWhite, and #OscarsSoWhite movements. Through studies of the film’s reception, formal innovations in visual storytelling, and comparisons with contemporary movies, this work challenges the idea the United States has moved beyond racial problems and highlights the role of film and representation in the continued struggle for equality.
As an “applied ethics” course, the goal is to help you understand ...
As an “applied ethics” course, the goal is to help you understand the role that ethical (and other) values play in our lives, and how argumentation that involves values both depends on and differs from reasoning about non-evaluative matters. For even if agreement about matters of value is sometimes challenging, it is possible to think critically in ethical matters and to have better and worse arguments for our beliefs. Gaining proficiency in this sort of critical thinking isn’t just an academic need — it will help you understand and engage the world around you and be able to resist those who either intentionally or unintentionally would deceive you. This course is driven by concrete scenarios and real-world issues we face today, but it is framed by 2500 years of Western philosophy and the conceptual and analytical tools developed in this tradition. Thus, the course provides a good introduction to philosophy, and it will hopefully encourage some of you to pursue further study within the philosophy department.