Jenny Barrett
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The Birth of a Nation
A timeline
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This volume of essays works to reveal and iterate some of the many ways in which D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation continues to be read and received into the twenty-first century. As many have remarked in this volume, the discourse on Birth is ongoing and incorporates perspectives from scholars of various fields, including cultural commentators, journalists and filmmakers. This timeline has been produced to give a picture of the sheer breadth of that discourse, frequently one that saw disagreement between its contributors. It reveals how diverse the fields may be where the discourse might emerge: film journals, video disclaimers, museum catalogues, press headlines, biographies, book chapters, films, television and much more. Some of the most well-known names in academia can be found writing about Birth, such as Thomas Cripps, Donald Bogle, Janet Staiger and Manthia Diawara, and many reiterate the ‘birth’ metaphor in their critical approaches and, frequently, the titles of their books and articles, meaning that the discourse constructs the perception of a film that ‘started something’. Although this list is selective, it will be helpful to those seeking to explore the history of the Birth discourse. The timeline begins in 1915 and offers short summaries for each item.

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D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation

Art, culture and ethics in black and white


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