Media and film studies

Hollywood Industry and Imaginary

Module code: P4012A
Level 6
30 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Film, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module examines one of the world's most commercially and culturally significant media institutions. It addresses Hollywood as a set of interconnected practices, industrial and symbolic.

 The module develops points of contact between two ways of envisaging films – as commodities within a moving image economy, and as symbolic forms – by situating film texts in historical contexts. It focuses in particular on the period from the late 1960s to the present day.

 As this is a final year module, you will draw on the range of methods, skills and approaches that you have encountered in your earlier work.

 You will also develop an account of the political economy of Hollywood. You look for ways of understanding why and how films are produced, and how these commercial imperatives shape the form and nature of Hollywood movies. Hollywood will be examined as a system of publicity encompassing marketing procedures, journalistic commentary, etc. 

Of course, you’ll also look at the films themselves. Their narrative structures, systems of representation, cinematographic properties, thematic concerns and the pleasures they offer – all in the specific historical and institutional contexts of the 'heavy industry of dreams’.

Module learning outcomes

  • Show systematic knowledge and understanding of the recent industrial history of Hollywood.
  • Make connections between the industrial configuraion of Hollywood and particular film products.
  • Show wider critical awareness of recent trends in Hollywood and their significance for contemporary filmic and wider culture.
  • Plan and realise a research project centred on the cultural and commercial profile of one Hollywood film and relating to some of the topics raised on the module.