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Religions 2018, 9(1), 21; doi:10.3390/rel9010021

Rescue US: Birth, Django, and the Violence of Racial Redemption

Religious Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race and Religion: New Approaches to African American Religions)
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In this article, I show how the relationship between race, violence, and redemption is articulated and visualized through film. By juxtaposing DW Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, I contend that the latter inverts the logic of the former. While Birth sacrifices black bodies and explains away anti-black violence for the sake of restoring white sovereignty (or rescuing the nation from threatening forms of blackness), Django adopts a rescue narrative in order to show the excessive violence that structured slavery and the emergence of the nation-state. As an immanent break within the rescue narrative, Tarantino’s film works to “rescue” images and sounds of anguish from forgetful versions of history. View Full-Text
Keywords: race; redemption; violence; cinema; Tarantino; Griffith; Birth of a Nation; Django Unchained race; redemption; violence; cinema; Tarantino; Griffith; Birth of a Nation; Django Unchained
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Winters, J. Rescue US: Birth, Django, and the Violence of Racial Redemption. Religions 2018, 9, 21.

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