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History of Hollywood

Seminar Leader:
Peter Decherney


This is a seminar on the history of Hollywood. It focused on politics, culture, and the entertainment industry and how they translate into the art of film. We learned about techniques for writing about and analyzing films. And we examined many important Hollywood movies in context. We traced the American film industry from Edison to the internet, asking questions such as: What is the relationship between Hollywood and independent film? How has the global spread of Hollywood since the 1920s changed the film industry? How has Hollywood responded to crises in American politics (e.g., world wars, the cold war, the Civil Rights Movement, 9/11)? And how have new technologies such as synchronized sound, color cinematography, television, home video, computer graphics, and other digital technologies changed Hollywood? We looked closely at representative studios (Paramount, Disney, and others), representative filmmakers (Mary Pickford, Frank Capra, George Lucas, and Spike Lee among many others), and examined the impact of industrial changes on the screen.

Unit TitleAuthor


Learning Through the Lens: How Hollywood Shapes the Way We View History

Andrea Ferentchak
Keywords: American History, Creative Writing, History activity, Media, Reading

Film Techniques and Gender and Race Representation in Film

Amanda Fiegel
Keywords: Cinematography, Entertainment industry, Media, Pop culture

Novel and a Movie?

Nicole Flores
Keywords: Clips, Media, Novel, Pairing, Pop culture, Reading

The Great Gatsby & Media Literacy

David Jennis
Keywords: "The Great Gatsby", Cinematography, Creative Writing, Drama, Entertainment industry, Media, Reading, Screen writing

Reds in Tinseltown: The Cold War, Hollywood, and Blacklisting

Matthew Menschner
Keywords: American History, Cinematography, Cold War, Entertainment industry, Media, Media Strategies, Media Studies, Politics, Pop culture, Propaganda, World politics, World War II

Everyone’s a Critic: Asking Meaningful Research Questions through Film

Keeler Park
Keywords: Cinematography, Creative Writing, developing research questions, Entertainment industry, essay, film, film in the classroom, Media, outline, Pop culture, public speaking, Reading, Research, research project, student choice, writing

The Awakening of the Black Panther: Shifting the Paradigm of Hollywood’s Portrayal of Africa

Wendi Mungai Umoren
Keywords: Africa, Creative Writing, Media, Reading, Screen writing