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Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

The Black Arts Movement, Black Aesthetics Movement or BAM is the artistic outgrowth of the Black Power movement that was prominent in the 1960s and early 1970s. Time magazine describes the Black Arts Movement as the “single most controversial movement in the history of African-American literature – possibly in American literature as a whole.” The movement has been seen as one of the most important times in African-American literature. It inspired black people to establish their own publishing houses, magazines, journals and art institutions. It led to the creation of African-American Studies programs within universities. The movement was triggered by the assassination of Malcolm X.Among the well-known writers who were involved with the movement are Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Maya Angelou, Hoyt W. Fuller, and Rosa Guy. Although not strictly part of the Movement, other notable African-American writers such as novelists Toni Morrison and Ishmael Reed share some of its artistic and thematic concerns.

Read this text and others available in Ames to learn more about the Black Arts Movement.

The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s – Emerging from a matrix of Old Left, black nationalist, and bohemian ideologies and institutions, African American artists and intellectuals in the 1960s coalesced to form the Black Arts Movement, the cultural wing of the Black Power Movement. In this comprehensive analysis, James Smethurst examines the formation of the Black Arts Movement and demonstrates how it deeply influenced the production and reception of literature and art in the United States through its negotiations of the ideological climate of the Cold War, decolonization, and the civil rights movement. Taking a regional approach, Smethurst examines local expressions of the nascent Black Arts Movement, a movement distinctive in its geographical reach and diversity, while always keeping the frame of the larger movement in view. The Black Arts Movement, he argues, fundamentally changed American attitudes about the relationship between popular culture and “high” art and dramatically transformed the landscape of public funding for the arts.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Revolutions aren’t always political, social, or cultural. Sometimes the way we do things and the processes for accomplishing tasks are done the same way until someone comes along and revolutionizes it. Sarah Breedlove Walker, better known as Madame C. J. Walker, created a cosmetic empire by inventing a system of hair straightening. This was an important development because for generations before her revolutionary process, blacks had straightened hair on ironing boards, which endangered the scalp and face and broke the hair. She was both an inventor and an entrepreneur; she opened a shop, trained assistants, and opened a beauty school.

Eventually, she moved the operation to Indianapolis and built her first factory. By 1917, Walker employed 3,000 workers in America’s largest black-owned business and was profiting from sales of equipment and supplies and from her chain of beauty schools.

On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker was written by A’Lelia Bundles. Bundles, a journalist and great-great-granddaughter of Madam C.J. Walker, offers a lively portrait of an American businesswoman. Walker, the first freeborn child of slaves, rose from poverty to establish a successful hair-care business, became one of the wealthiest women in the U.S., and devoted herself to a life of activism and philanthropy toward race and women’s issues.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Black History Month was first proposed by Black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, in February 1970.

Six years later Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers, both great and small, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

This month, Theme Thursdays will focus on revolutions related to black Americans. Black Americans have a long history of participating in revolutions, from the American Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. While it hasn’t been called a “revolution,” the #BlackLivesMatter movement is a call to action and response to anti-Black racism permeating U.S. society. Black Lives Matter has a defined agenda, defined leadership structure, and strategy for getting what it wants. It’s been said that if it must choose between evolution and revolution—between working within the existing system and disrupting that system entirely—then Black Lives Matter is choosing, to an extent, revolution.

Black Lives Matter activists have organized thousands of protests, a form of activism which has a long history with black communities. Learn about protests and activism within the black community with these collections from Ames.

Black students in protest: A study of the origins of the Black student movement, by Anthony M. Orum

Pullman porters and the rise of protest politics in Black America, 1925-1945, by Beth Tompkins Bates

Schooling Jim Crow: The fight for Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School and the roots of Black protest politics, by Jay Winston Driskell Jr.

Strategies for freedom: The changing patterns of Black protest, by Bayard Rustin

Black protest: history, documents, and analyses, 1619 to the present, edited with introd. and commentary by Joanne Grant

Black protest in the sixties, edited with an introd. by August Meier and Elliott Rudwick

Black protest: Issues and tactics, by Robert C. Dick

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Art is…The Permanent Revolution – this film, available through Kanopy, documents the revolutionary nature of art across the past couple hundred years.

The anger and outrage captured by graphic artists and printmakers have defined revolutions through the centuries, depicting the human condition in all its glories and struggles so powerfully that perceptions, attitudes and politics have been dramatically influenced. In art is … the permanent revolution three contemporary artists and a master printer explore how social reality and protest are conveyed in art. While the stirring works of the masters sweep by – among them graphics by Rembrandt, Goya, Daumier, Kollwitz, Dix, Grosz and Picasso – the making of an etching, a woodcut and a lithograph unfolds before our eyes as the contemporary artists join their illustrious predecessors in creating art of social engagement. Featuring Sigmund Abeles, etcher; Ann Chernow, lithographer; Paul Marcus, woodcutter; and James Reed, master printer.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Every decade spawns a musical revolution.

The ’60s birthed psychedelia, the ’70s punk, the ’80s hip-hop, the ’90s grunge, and even the aughts brought a bold new sound: Southern rap.

At the start of this century, stars from Lil Wayne to T.I. to Rick Ross restated the power, and eccentricity, of regional music, giving once isolated sounds national resonance.

Check out some of these books on musical revolutions happening around the world and throughout time.

The Sound of Innovation: Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution

How a team of musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists developed computer music as an academic field and ushered in the era of digital music.

Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil

In the year 2000, Brazil commemorated not only the passing of the century and the millennium but also the five hundred years since her discovery. To this date, then, is attached an accumulation of meaning not shared with any other country in the world. And the flood of omens let loose at this juncture is closely allied with the psychology of Brazil-a failed nation ashamed of having once been called “the country of the future.” In fact, those past expectations have today taken the form of a resignation that underlies new frustrations, but the magnitude of Brazil’s disillusionment reveals that-fortunately or not-we remain very far from a sensible realism.

Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution

Noise Uprising brings to life the moment and sounds of a cultural revolution. Between the development of electrical recording in 1925 and the outset of the Great Depression in the early 1930s, the soundscape of modern times unfolded in a series of obscure recording sessions, as hundreds of unknown musicians entered makeshift studios to record the melodies and rhythms of urban streets and dancehalls. The musical styles and idioms etched onto shellac disks reverberated around the globe: among them Havana’s son, Rio’s samba, New Orleans’ jazz, Buenos Aires’ tango, Seville’s flamenco, Cairo’s tarab, Johannesburg’s marabi, Jakarta’s kroncong, and Honolulu’s hula. They triggered the first great battle over popular music and became the soundtrack to decolonization.

Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music

In the early nineties, riot grrrl exploded onto the underground music scene, inspiring girls to pick up an instrument, create fanzines, and become politically active. Rejecting both traditional gender roles and their parents’ brand of feminism, riot grrrls celebrated and deconstructed femininity. The media went into a titillated frenzy covering followers who wrote “slut” on their bodies, wore frilly dresses with combat boots, and talked openly about sexual politics.

Cairo Pop: Youth Music in Contemporary Egypt

Cairo Pop is the first book to examine the dominant popular music of Egypt, shababiyya. Scorned or ignored by scholars and older Egyptians alike, shababiyya plays incessantly in Cairo, even while Egyptian youth joined in mass protests against their government, which eventually helped oust longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. Living in Cairo at the time of the revolution, Daniel Gilman saw, and more importantly heard, the impact that popular music can have on culture and politics. Here he contributes a richly ethnographic analysis of the relationship between mass-mediated pop.

Retuning Culture: Musical Changes in Central and Eastern Europe

As a measure of individual and collective identity, music offers both striking metaphors and tangible data for understanding societies in transition—and nowhere is this clearer than in the recent case of the Eastern Bloc. Retuning Culture presents an extraordinary picture of this phenomenon. This pioneering set of studies traces the tumultuous and momentous shifts in the music cultures of Central and Eastern Europe from the first harbingers of change in the 1970s through the revolutionary period of 1989–90 to more recent developments.

Music and Media in the Arab World

Since the turn of the twentieth century the dramatic rise of mass media has profoundly transformed music practices in the Arab world. Music has adapted to successive forms of media dissemination – from phonograph cylinders to MP3s – each subjected to the political and economic forces of its particular era and region. Carried by mass media, the broader culture of Arab music has been thoroughly transformed as well. Simultaneously, mass mediated music has become a powerful social force. While parallel processes have unfolded worldwide, their implications in the Arabic-speaking world have thus far received little scholarly attention. This provocative volume features sixteen new essays examining these issues, especially televised music and the controversial new genre of the music video. Perceptive voices – both emerging and established – represent a wide variety of academic disciplines. Incisive essays by Egyptian critics display the textures of public Arabic discourse to an English readership. Authors address the key issues of contemporary Arab society – gender and sexuality, Islam, class, economy, power, and nation – as refracted through the culture of mediated music. Interconnected by a web of recurrent concepts, this collection transcends music to become an important resource for the study of contemporary Arab society and culture.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Scientific and technological revolutions are happening every day as we get better and better at asking questions and figuring out answers. On this Theme Thursday we think back to some pretty revolutionary discoveries in the earth sciences

Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to TruthDuring the twentieth century, scientists made four fundamental and surprising discoveries about the Earth: our planet is billions of years old, continents and ocean floors move, rocks as big as mountains fall from the sky, and humans are changing the climate. When first proposed, each violated long-held beliefs and quickly came to be regarded as scientific, and sometimes religious, heresy. Then, after decades of rejection, scientists reversed themselves and came to accept each theory. Today, scientists regard deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and anthropogenic global warming as established truths.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Fall semester is done (mostly). Most of you are probably heading home for winter break and along the way you may even pass the time listening to music. Will you be using your favorite streaming service like Spotify or Pandora? Or do you download your own copies from iTunes, Amazon, or some other favorite option? How long have you been downloading music? Can you remember a time when that wasn’t always an option?

Because, yes – downloading music wasn’t always a thing.

Check out The Online Music Revolution which examines the explosion of legal music downloading and viral marketing, which have enabled enterprising bands and singers to distribute their own work rather than signing with major labels. Focusing on the success of Nizlopi, Arctic Monkeys, Internet marketing pioneer Simply Red, and other artists, the program also features commentary from John Kennedy, chairman of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry–who outlines the potential benefits that big corporations may one day reap from consumer downloading.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

What is new media? We may begin answering this question by listing the categories commonly discussed under this topic in the popular press: the Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, virtual reality. Is this all there is to new media? What about television programs shot on digital video and edited on computer workstations? Or feature films that use 3-D animation and digital compositing? Shall we also count these as new media? What about images and textimage (meme) compositions – photographs, illustrations, layouts, ads – created on computers and then printed on paper? Where shall we stop?

As can be seen from these examples, the popular understanding of new media identifies it with the use of a computer for distribution and exhibition rather than production. Accordingly, texts distributed on a computer (Web sites and electronic books) are considered to be new media, whereas texts distributed on paper are not. Similarly, photographs that are put on a CD-ROM and require a computer to be viewed are considered new media; the same photographs printed in a book are not.

Has this discussion of new media piqued your interest? Check out some of these books on gaming and how it integrates with cinema, marketing, and business.

Game on, Hollywood!: Essays on the Intersection of Video Games and Cinema

The 14 essays in Game on, Hollywood! take on several points of game and film intersection. They look at storylines, aesthetics, mechanics, and production. The book is about adaptation (video game to film, film to video game), but it is even more about narrative. The essays draw attention to the ways and possibilities of telling a story. They consider differences and similarities across modes of storytelling (showing, telling, interacting), explore the consequences of time, place and ideology, and propose critical approaches to the vastness of narrative in the age of multimedia storytelling.

The video games and film texts discussed include The Warriors (1979 film; 2005 video game), GoldenEye (1995 film), GoldenEye 007 (1997 and 2011 video games), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000–2004, television show), Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (2003 video game), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003 video game; 2010 film), the Star Wars franchise empire (1977 on), Afro Samurai (2009 video game), and Disney’s Epic Mickey (2010 video game).

Brands & Gaming: The Computer Gaming Phenomenon and its Impact on Brands and Businesses

The computer gaming industry is bigger than the film and music industries and is growing faster than both of them put together. The industry is also changing fast. The typical computer gamer is in his mid 20s and female gamers make up one of the faster growing parts of the market. New developments in sociability and interactivity are also transforming the industry. This is the first major study of brands and gaming and shows huge opportunities for brand development.

Games and Gaming: An Introduction to New Media

The computer games industry has rapidly matured. Once a preoccupation only of young technophiles, games are now one of the dominant forms of global popular culture. From consoles such as Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox to platforms such as iPhones and online gaming worlds, the realm of games and their scope has become all-pervasive.

The study of games is no longer a niche interest but rather an integral part of cultural and media studies. The analysis of games reveals much about contemporary social relations, online communities and media engagement.

Presenting a range of approaches and analytical tools through which to explore the role of games in everyday life, and packed with case material, Games and Gaming provides a comprehensive overview of this new media and how it permeates global culture in the twenty-first century.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

No series on evolution would be complete without a discussion of dinosaurs, especially when you consider all the revolutionary theories about dino evolution.

Recently, fossils of early birds and their most immediate predecessors have been collected at an unprecedented rate from Mesozoic-aged rocks worldwide. This wealth of new fossils has settled the century-old controversy of the origin of birds. Today, we can safely declare that birds evolved from a group of dinosaurs known as maniraptoran theropods-generally small meat-eating dinosaurs that include Velociraptor of Jurassic Park fame.

Evidence that birds evolved from the carnivorous predators that ruled the Mesozoic ecosystems is plentiful and it comes from disparate lines of evidence. Traditionally, the prime source of evidence in support of this scientific view was the similar shape of the bones of birds and a variety of maniraptorans but spectacular new discoveries have added other lines of evidence to the table.

What other evidence is there? See for yourself.

Flying dinosaurs: How fearsome reptiles became birds, by John Pickrell

Dinosaurs, by John H. Ostrom

The Princeton field guide to dinosaurs, by Gregory S. Paul

Greenhouse of the dinosaurs: Evolution, extinction, and the future of our planet, by Donald R. Prothero

Dinosaur data book: The definitive illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles, by David Lambert and the Diagram Group, in association with the British Museum (Natural History)

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving. The commercialized version of Thanksgiving suggests the Pilgrims and local Native Americans, the Wampanoag, sat down for a peaceful meal to celebrate the harvest season. The truth is far more nuanced, as it often is when victors write final version of events.

On this Theme Thursday, the last in our Native American Heritage Month mini-series, we take a look at library resources related to the Indian Civil Rights Act. This 1968 act made many, but not all, of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights applicable within Native American tribes in the U.S. It is one of many decisions made at a federal level that made efforts at making native lands more sovereign, but there is still much work to be done.

Read more about the act and related efforts with some of these resources, available to be checked out from Ames.

American Indian civil rights handbook by Michael R. Smith

Encyclopedia of American Indian civil rights, edited by James S. Olson; Mark Baxter, Jason M. Tetzloff, and Darren Pierson, associate editors

The Indian, America’s unfinished business, report compiled by William A. Brophy and Sophie D. Aberle, et al.

Native Americans, edited by Donald A. Grinde, Jr.