O Brother, Where Art Thou?

How does this 2000 film engage with and differ from Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey, on which it is loosely based? How do various characters in the film, which is set in the deep South during the depression, reflect famous characters in that story? How does the film portray the role of popular music in racial integration during this period in American History? How does the film portray the relationship that existed between racial aspects of the prevailing political order and the opposed and organic growth of integration in popular culture? How does the opportunism of governor, Pappy O’Daniel, with regard to the integrated band formed by Ulysses, Tommy Johnson and the others illustrate? What does the film tell us about the power of recording technology and radio as drivers of social change in the depression era South, and what lessons can we derive concerning the modern media environment and its more positive potential?

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