Communication And Culture | Hollywood II (1945-2000)
C292 | 1107 | Anderson

Professor Christopher Anderson (email:

We inhabit a culture in which movies, TV, music, literature, and
advertising form an increasingly integrated media environment.  Contemporary
Hollywood movies are no longer really successful unless they launch a
consumer product line -- a soundtrack album, computer games and websites,
amusement park rides, clothing apparel, spin-offs and sequels -- and unless
they perform in international markets as well as in the U.S.  Celebrated
filmmakers, such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, and John
Woo, move easily across the media -- creating TV series, computer games, and
commercials, in addition to feature films.  In this environment,
distinctions between art, entertainment, and commerce that once seemed
self-evident have become hopelessly blurred.

Much has changed in Hollywood over the last few decades.  Movie studios
have diversified into related fields, such as theme parks and television
production.  The studios themselves have been absorbed into transnational
conglomerates that view film production as merely one source in a worldwide
stream of revenue.  New distribution technologies -- cable, satellites, home
video, the Internet -- have turned the family home into Hollywood¹s most
lucrative exhibition market.  International markets now challenge the U.S.
market as the primary source of movie industry revenue.

This course will explore the ways in which Hollywood has adapted and
survived in spite of the changes that have occurred over the past few
decades.  Although the movie industry has changed dramatically since the
days of the studio system, the term "Hollywood" continues to survive because
it collects the diverse interests of the media industries in a single,
identifiable location.  In the second half of the century, the term
"Hollywood" has come to stand for several things:  a particular location for
cultural production, a style of storytelling and filmmaking, a highly
marketable type of entertainment, and a landmark in the global cultural
landscape.  In all these senses, Hollywood has shown remarkable resilience,
an ability to incorporate major changes into the structures established
first by a small band of entrepreneurs nearly seventy years ago.

This course will examine Hollywood¹s changing role as a site of cultural
production, concentrating on the rise of television, the tensions between
blockbuster and independent movies, the growth of international markets, the
impact of new technologies, and the continuing challenges faced by women and
minorities in the entertainment industries.  We will then trace changes in
Hollywood's narrative strategies, visual and sound styles, stars, and genres
-- particularly as these have been redefined by new markets, new
technologies, and new artists.

In addition to readings, we will view a number of movies and TV programs
at our Monday evening screening session.  Grades will be based on a
combination of exams and short papers