as well as an addictive craving for fried chicken and watermelon.’ Leab’s work was notable as one of a number of studies in the early 1970s that provided the first detailed considerations of racial imagery in Hollywood film. 12
Leab’s line of enquiry also typified what by the 1980s had become a dominant trend in studies by cultural historians, namely to explore the origins, character and significance of stereotyped depictions of African Americans in USpopularculture. In Blacks and White TV ( 1983 ) cultural historian J. Fred MacDonald thus examined the
The blossoming of interest in black history since the 1950s was directly linked to the rise of Martin Luther King and the post-Second World War Civil Rights Movement. The advances achieved in desegregation and black voting rights since the 1950s suggested that this was a destination that King's children, and African Americans as a whole, would ultimately reach. In the inter-war years there were indications that some scholars were willing to examine the more depressing realities of black life, most notably in a series of academic studies on lynching. The book discusses the approach of Du Bois to the academic studies on black migrants from a sociological perspective. When African American history began to command more serious attention in the mid-1960s, the generation of historians who had had direct personal experience of the Great Depression and the Second World War began to reach the age of retirement. The book also examines the achievements of race leaders like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, the Black Power Movement and Black Nationalism of the 1960s. In a 1996 study, political scientist Robert C. Scholarly debate on the African American experience from the 1890s through to the early 1920s gathered momentum with fresh studies on the spread of racial segregation and black migration to the cities. The rise of feminism and popularity of women's history prompted academic researchers to pay attention to the issue of gender in African American history. Stereotyped depictions of African Americans in US popular culture are also discussed.
British art cinema: Creativity, experimentation and innovation brings together a selection of essays from both new and established scholars that engage with how far artistic creativity, entertainment and commerce have informed a conceptual British ‘arthouse’ cinema. The chapters show that rather than always sitting in the shadow of its European counterparts, for example, British cinema has often produced films and film-makers that explore intellectual ideas, and embrace experiment and innovation. The book examines the complex nature of state-funded and independent British filmmaking, the relationship between the modernist movement and British cinema, and the relationship between British cinema, Hollywood and US popular culture. The chapters cover the history of British cinema from the silent period to the 2010s. Film-makers explored in detail include Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Derek Jarman, Ken Russell, Horace Ové, Joseph Losey, John Krish, Humphrey Jennings, Nicolas Roeg, and lesser-known artists such as Enrico Cocozza and Sarah Turner. There are new essays on the British New Wave, the 1980s, poetic realism and social realism, the producer Don Boyd, the Black Audio Film Collective, films about Shakespeare, and the work of the Arts Council in the aftermath of World War Two.
This introduction engages with issues such as Britain’s traditions of intellectualism and anti-intellectualism and how these pertain to the history of British film. We consider how far British films conform to class-based, ideologically informed notions of ‘high art’; the tensions between highbrow and low art in British cinema; the complexities of state-funded and independent British filmmaking; and the question of how far artistic creativity, entertainment and commerce might co-exist within a conceptual British ‘art’ cinema. Attention is paid to the relationship between the modernist movement and British cinema; the relationship between British cinema, Hollywood and US popular culture; historical conditions in which British art cinema develops and flourishes; and the transnational nature of much of what we call British cinema, and British art cinema in particular.
the trope of tropicalism or tropicalisation in its
feminised form within USpopularculture.
The vogue for ‘Latin’ music in film
soundtracks of this era was not restricted to Brazil. Tim Bergfelder
analyses the German revue films of the 1950s, the eclectic
‘schlager’ films, such as Cuba cabana (Fritz Peter
and an outsider who
can only rescue an inherently weak, corrupt or contaminated society through the
use of ‘redemptive violence’ (5). Separate from the societies they save, superheroes
‘transcend democratic limits on the exercise of power’ and ‘bypass the restraints
of law’ (35), and for this they receive ‘adulation from the impotent communities
that benefit from the exercise of beneficent powers’ (42). As was noted in the
introduction, they argue that this is also the means by which USpopularculture
becomes both justification and apologist for US political zeal
with popular songs playing on the soundtrack. We hear a range
of tracks in quick succession, including Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’.
Again, this music is filtered through reverb, lending the whole
sequence the dreamy quality of a distant memory. But the music
also serves to construct a rich, imaginative landscape which sees the
optimistic warmth of an emergent USpopularculture seemingly
flood into cold, austere Britain. The rock ‘n’ roll songs used on the
soundtrack here (and subsequently released on the 2-LP soundtrack
by Ronco Records) come to have a talismanic hold
This means that the destruction of a hostile being by high-tech weapons
is equated to the ‘suitable’ use of science versus the exploitative and
morally wrong use by the perpetrator.
National missile defence and the politics of US identity
To conclude, drawing on the relationship between foreign policy discourses and USpopularculture appears useful for understanding how
national missile defence always-already exists in the US political imagery
of security through certain narratives that are
The transnational and transgeneric initiative of La Zanfoña Producciones
Josetxo Cerdán and Miguel Fernández Labayen
gypsy and Arabic influences, this time it comes from the
assimilation of USpopularculture, from comic books to rock
’n’ roll, from performance art to psychedelic trance. The
reification of the hippie counterculture under the dictatorship fell
short of finding a great echo in Spanish youth culture. However, it did
make its way and was mirrored by a small community in Sevilla which was
introduced to the
US exceptionalism and individualism.
A key figure in contemporary and twentieth-century USpopularculture is that of the superhero, who represents American values by dramatising the personality traits of rugged individualism, courage, persistence, moral virtue and a love of the US nation. 74 Consider Captain America: he embodies US state identity and provides a hero ‘both of, and for, the nation’ by being representative of the ‘idealised American nation’ itself and as a ‘defender of the American status quo’. 75 His costume