9 March 2008
The recent strike by Hollywood screenwriters threw some important questions into relief: who does the entertainment industry really depend upon to keep its business going? Where is the money made now that DVD profits far outstrip box-office revenues? What impact does Hollywood have on regions of the world when its global operations are suddenly fused?
MA in Hollywood Studies launched
These questions, among others, are central to a new MA in Hollywood Studies being launched by The University of Nottingham in 2008-09 — the first of its kind in the UK. The MA will consider how exactly Hollywood operates as an industry and creative system, and will examine the role of Hollywood in history and everyday life, posing two essential questions: 'what is Hollywood?' and 'where is Hollywood?'
The MA locates film, television, and other screen media within the institutional, economic and cultural frameworks of global Hollywood. The course, the only one of its kind in Britain, will instruct students in academic and industrial discourses in film and television studies, with a particular emphasis on globally dominant Hollywood institutions and practices and their local situation in North America, Europe, Asia and elsewhere.
Students will be based in the Institute of Film and Television Studies, located within the School of American and Canadian Studies, which achieved a 5* rating in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. The Institute has expanded rapidly in recent years and is now one of the largest such programmes in the UK.
Dr Paul Grainge, Deputy Director of the Institute of Film and Television Studies and the author of Brand Hollywood, said: “The entertainment industry is now the second largest US export sector. The worldwide revenue of the major film studios was $41 billion in 2003, the Star Wars franchise alone earning more than the GDP of most African states. Hollywood is, in this way, central to our cultural and economic life.
“This new MA course seeks to understand the complexities of Hollywood in both the production and consumption of its wares. In a historical moment when Hollywood no longer makes film but 'entertainment software', and where it is no longer based in Los Angeles but is dispersed throughout the world — making it difficult to define what an 'American,' 'British' or 'Chinese' film might actually be — there is a need to take stock, and move beyond the easy clichés which govern thoughts about 'Hollywood.'
“Aside from making the term stand for ideas about cultural and aesthetic value, as is often the case, we need to understand, in every sense of the term, the big picture.”
Students will look at every aspect of Hollywood, with modules including 'film-makers and film-making', 'the blockbuster', 'Hollywood at home and abroad', and others which explore Hollywood within frameworks of global cultural interaction and exchange.
Staff in the Institute of Film and Television Studies research and teach on a range of specialty subjects, including US film and television, East Asian and global cinema, new media, industrial and audience analysis, and film and television history.
The Institute of Film and Television Studies has a thriving research culture, with current students focusing on topics as diverse as transnational appropriation of Hollywood cinema, US video games and military strategy, star performance in contemporary US film, and the development of transmedia television. They are supported by an active programme of research seminars, guest lectures and symposia organized by staff and students.
The Institute also runs Scope: an Online Journal of Film and Television Studies, a fully refereed journal with an international advisory board produced by research students under staff direction.
The MA can be taken full-time over one year or part-time over two years. The first students will start in October 2008.
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