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America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies [Paperback]

Harry M. Benshoff , Sean Griffin

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Book Description

2 Jan 2009 1405170557 978-1405170550 2nd Edition
America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in the Movies, 2nd Edition  is a lively introduction to issues of diversity as represented within the American cinema. Provides a comprehensive overview of the industrial, socio–cultural, and aesthetic factors that contribute to cinematic representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality Includes over 100 illustrations, glossary of key terms, questions for discussion, and lists for further reading/viewing Includes new case studies of a number of films, including Crash, Brokeback Mountain, and Quinceañera

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Review

"Concluding each chapter are discussion questions and lists of further reading and relevant films. Particularly valuable are the 28 two–page case studies (e.g., of Lion King , Jazz Singer , Grapes of Wrath , Gilda , Celluloid Closet , Crash , Brokeback Mountain ) scattered throughout. These analyze the films in terms of culture group. A model of sociological criticism and an invaluable tool (in classroom or library) for film students." ( CHOICE , August 2009) " America on Film is a different kind of film studies textbook. It′s an invaluable resource for classes examining the politics of Hollywood." Ted Friedman, Associate Professor of Moving Image Studies, Georgia State University “The authors do a remarkable job at presenting contexts for identifying and tracking the historical constructions of race, gender, class and sexuality … They successfully present a rich history, with references to hundreds of films.” Scope Journal " America on Film provides a clear and expansive examination of the complexities of representation and identity in American cinema. I currently use Benshoff and Griffin′s book in my introductory film class on multiculturalism, and I look forward to using this new edition." Vicki Callahan , University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee "In this era of diversity, American on Film is a great resource that clarifies critical concepts of inequality and illustrates how film representations can frame groups thus providing tools for thinking critically about the media we consume." Elizabeth Higginbotham, University of Delaware " America on Film does what no other film textbook does: it takes its investigation of film beyond a study of form, production and exhibition, exposing how film functions as a powerful cultural agent for shaping American perceptions of race, gender, class and ability." Alison Landsberg, George Mason University

From the Back Cover

America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in the Movies is a lively introduction to issues of diversity as represented within the American cinema. The first synthetic and historical text of its kind, America on Film provides a comprehensive overview of the industrial, socio–cultural, and aesthetic factors that contribute to cinematic representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The volume chronicles the cinematic history of various cultural groups, examines forces and institutions of bias, and stimulates discussion about the relationship between film and American national culture. The book is organized within a broad historical framework, with specific theoretical concepts – including film genre, auteurism, cultural studies, Orientalism, the "male gaze," feminism, and queer theory – integrated throughout. Each individual chapter features a concise overview of the topic at hand, a discussion of representative films, figures, and movements, and an in–depth analysis of a single film, including The Lion King, The Jazz Singer, Smoke Signals, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Celluloid Closet . This new edition is fully revised and updated. It includes a new chapter on the representation of disability in American film, and a new collection of updated case studies, including discussions of 8 Mile, Erin Brockovich, Crash, and Brokeback Mountain, among others.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Great Information! 24 Feb 2010
By ivory - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is full of great information about film and it's history but not in a dated way. There are a ton of case studies of various types of films new and old that help shed some light on the film and get you thinking about it more deeply and not just as entertainment or "I liked or didn't like it". I think the case studeis are the parts I like best and the glossary and index and very easy to read. There are a lot of good pictures of celebrities and scenes from films in the book and many are from the authors own personal collection. The authors explain the new terms clearly and the information is very revelent to anyone who has anything to do with the media. Be it you love watching movies, are a film major, or a culture buff. It's a good read for anyone doesn't seem like a typical textbook. I will be keeping it! America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies, Second Edition
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Baseline for Something Far Better 22 Nov 2010
By Hermin Hollerith, Maker of Tacky Wreaths in the 70's - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book seems most relevant when viewed as a sociology text than as a film text. The authors provide many good examples of films where images of race, class and gender are portrayed in support of what the authors call the "dominant ideology". They are very critical of Hollywood, taking the film industry to task for the many ways it has irresponsibly and carelessly used its power in film as well as the way it treated actors and employees.

However, this isn't a particularly enjoyable book to read. The book is from the viewpoint of the authors and few references cited as external support. There's a seemingly endless supply of example films, but no discussion with actual directors, writers or actors. What is *their* opinion and experiences? You know, the people who worked for these bloodsucking, sexist, racist and abusive studios? Furthermore, while I don't have a problem with using Sigmund Freud's work in either a crediting or discrediting role (the book does both), I would much rather see analysis from contemporary researchers and professionals. Citing Freud when applicable to films or views in his time is appropriate; citing him for a modern or clinical definition of fetishization seems inappropriate considering Freud's reputation for being occasionally wrong, nuts, or both.

With a little less dryness, fresher approaches and more supporting examples, this could be an outstanding work. As it stands right now, it's more like a highly polished version of someone's thesis.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Primer 13 July 2014
By MR MARC RAYMOND - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Rather simple and basic at points but a decent intro text.
5.0 out of 5 stars America on Film 18 Feb 2013
By Tina Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very easy to read material. Very full of important key points of the film industry. I would recommend this book to others.
3.0 out of 5 stars text book 30 Jan 2013
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this was required for my daughter's school. It was OK... we sold it back to Amazon at the end of the semester.
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