1 x 1-hour lecture weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
1 x 2-hour film screening weekly
Assumed knowledge
Competence in written English expression.
Topic description

This topic examines the American cinema as an industry engaged in the production and sale of a commercial commodity, and considers the ways in which that commodity has been standardised and regulated. In the process, it explores the ways in which production, distribution and exhibition are linked in the Hollywood system. Who is responsible for the images produced by Hollywood? What ideological purposes do they serve, both domestically and internationally?

The organisation of the topic is roughly historical, ranging from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. Has the essential nature of Hollywood changed over time, or does it still serve the same kinds of social, cultural and personal functions that it did a century ago?

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Develop students' critical thinking, specifically in relation to the cultural and industrial operations of commercial entertainment media
  • Enhance students' ability to research a topic independently and organise their findings
  • Encourage students to write persuasively, accurately and coherently, using standard academic notation
  • Encourage students to debate their ideas in on-line discussions
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the economic, industrial and social processes underlying the evolution of the Hollywood entertainment industry from its earliest beginnings to the multi-national corporate business of the present day
  2. Critique instances of the popular cinema as commercial commodities as well as aesthetic objects
  3. Locate and evaluate both primary and secondary research materials relevant to the history of the popular cinema
  4. Present a written argument supported by evidence
  5. Take part in on-line forums