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Hollywood Raises Political Consciousness

Political Messages in Feature Films

Edited by Michael Haas

Feature films are jam-packed with political messages. This volume provides the tools for analyzing the politics embedded in films. Contributors reveal how subliminal messages are a clue to how the public perceives political reality through otherwise entertaining feature films.
The volume is divided into two parts: Part One focuses on defining political films while Part Two looks at how «politics» is defined within films. Contributors find several ways of defining «political films», but agree that while the messages in films may often seem progressive, they are usually quite conservative, with the aim of making as much money as possible for the people financing the films.
The book provides a history of political film and identifies several hundred films with specific political messages.
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Gainsborough Pictures Reframed

Or: Raising Jane Austen for 1990s Film- A Film-Historic and Film-Analytical Study of the 1995 Films "Sense and Sensibility and "Persuasion

Martina Anzinger

In the 1990s U.S. and British adaptations of Jane Austen novels enjoyed unprecedented popularity. To find out why, one has to revise and go beyond what has dominated in the discussion of these films: the «fidelity-to-the-novel»-discourse and the «influence-of-national-cinema»-discourse. Thus, in this book film theory, film history, various kinds of film analysis (structural, feminist, Marxist) and literary analysis are combined. From these angles, the 1990s and previous Austen films are studied and compared, two of them in detail: the 1995 «U.S.» feature film Sense and Sensibility and the 1995 «British» telefilm Persuasion. This analysis shows: the 1990s Austen films, though reflecting certain features of British and Hollywood cinema and not greatly deviating from the novels, are independent works of art; also, they are products of their time, displaying, for instance, a liberal feminist attitude and criticism of class distinctions.
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Crash Politics and Antiracism

Interrogations of Liberal Race Discourse

Phillip Howard and George J. Sefa Dei

Crash Politics and Antiracism argues that race and racism continue to script the social fabric in Euro-North America. While dominant discourses claim that we have made significant progress away from racial bigotry, there is no shortage of evidence that inequitable ideologies of race prevail. Similarly, mainstream cinematic productions have mass appeal, yet tend to demonstrate and cement the racial ideologies that circulate in society. As such, they can be used either for the propagation of dominant ideologies or in the development of critical consciousness. Crash Politics and Antiracism does the latter, understanding the award-winning film Crash as an especially interesting pedagogical site, for while to many it offers a fresh analysis of race and racism, the antiracist analyses in this book suggest that it recycles oppressive understandings of race. The essays in this collection, written from a variety of racial locations, provide readings of Crash that seek to disrupt the movie’s subtle messages and, more importantly, some of the intractable liberal notions of race that perpetuate racial inequity. The considerations raised in this volume will enrich critical conversations about how race and racism work in contemporary Euro-North American societies – whether these conversations occur in classrooms, boardrooms, or living rooms.
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New Readings in American Drama

Something's Happening Here

Norma Jenckes

New Readings in American Drama, an anthology of some of the best essays that have been published in the scholarly journal, American Drama, showcases the latest research and applies the newest theoretical approaches to the huge body of writing for the American stage, screen, and television. Rounding-up all the usual canonical subjects from O’Neill to Miller to Mamet, this book also highlights marginalized writers from earlier decades of the twentieth century and stresses the work of women and African-American playwrights. Although many people sheepishly confess that they rarely read poetry or fiction once they leave school, most must admit that they are daily viewers of drama, a ubiquitous experience that people enjoy on television, videos, and at the movies. This popular ascendancy of drama bolsters the argument for using the classroom to raise the level of discussion of what students are actually going to watch for the rest of their lives – and this book provides the tools to facilitate that conversation.
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Spinsters Reloaded

Single Older Women in American Popular Culture


Charlotte Fink

This study entails a qualitative cultural film analysis of single women characters in six contemporary US-American movies released between 1999 and 2008. On the one hand, the focal point is the assessment of character portrayals and their embedding into their everyday lives. On the other, it focuses on the correlation between age, gender, and marital status. Results show that an acknowledgement of different kinds of single older women seems prevalent, yet also reveal a dominance of hetero-normativity. It is concluded that Hollywood offers a so called counter world of single women and aging, particularly with regard to socio-economic strains, health, and an active aging process where one can look ‘younger’.
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Watching «The Lord of the Rings»

Tolkien’s World Audiences

Martin Barker and Ernest Mathijs

How did audiences across the world respond to the films of The Lord of the Rings? This book presents findings from the largest film audience project ever undertaken, drawing from 25,000 questionnaire responses and a wide array of other materials. Contributors use these materials to explore a series of widely speculated questions: why is film fantasy important to different kinds of viewers? Through marketing, previews and reviews, debates and cultural chatter, how are audiences prepared for a film like this? How did fans of the book respond to its adaptation on screen? How do people choose their favorite characters? How was the films’ reception shaped by different national and cultural contexts?
The answers to these questions shed fresh light on the extraordinary popularity of The Lord of the Rings and provide important new insights into the global reception of cinema in the twenty-first century.
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Movies Change Lives

Pedagogy of Constructive Humanistic Transformation Through Cinema


Tony Kashani

Movies Change Lives is a rigorous interdisciplinary examination of cinema as a vehicle for personal and social transformation. Interdisciplinary scholar Tony Kashani builds a theory of humanistic transformation by discussing many movies while engaging the works of philosopher/psychologist Erich Fromm, cultural studies theorist Stuart Hall, critical pedagogy theorist Henry Giroux, political philosopher Hannah Arendt, the great French thinker Edgar Morin, the pioneering psychologist Carl Jung, the co-founder of string theory, physicist Michio Kaku, and Frankfurt School philosopher Jürgen Habermas, among others. The book argues that in the globalized world of the twenty-first century, humanity is in dire need of personal and social transformation. Movies have universal appeal and can deeply affect their audiences in a short time. Coupled with critical pedagogy, they can become tools of personal and social transformation. Movies Change Lives is an ideal text for graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses on film (cinema) and society, visual culture, consciousness studies, transformative studies, media and social change, advanced personal and social psychology, and political philosophy.
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Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom

Critical Educultural Teaching Approaches for Social Justice Activism

Virginia Lea and Erma Jean Sims

At the start of the twenty-first century, government mandates and corporate practices are resulting in growing inequities in the U.S. educational field. Many view this as being driven by whiteness hegemony. Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom is a comprehensive effort to bring together, in one volume, educultural practices and teaching strategies that deconstruct whiteness hegemony, empower individuals to develop critical consciousness, and inspire them to engage in social justice activism. Through music, the visual and performing arts, narrative, and dialogue, educulturalism opens us up to becoming more aware of the oppressive cultural and institutional forces that make up whiteness hegemony. Educulturalism allows us to identify how whiteness hegemony functions to obscure the power, privilege, and practices of the dominant social elite, and reproduce inequities and inequalities within education and wider society.