America on Film
Representing Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies
A comprehensive and insightful examination of the representation of diverse viewpoints and perspectives in American cinema throughout the 20th and 21st centuries
America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies, now in its third edition, is an authoritative and lively examination of diversity issues within American cinema. Celebrated authors and academics Harry M. Benshoff and Sean Griffin provide readers with a comprehensive discussion and overview of the industrial, socio-cultural, and aesthetic factors that contribute to cinematic representations of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability.
The book incorporates several different theoretical perspectives, including film genre, auteurism, cultural studies, Orientalism, the “male gaze,” feminism, and queer theory. The authors examine each selected subject via representative films, figures, and movements. Each chapter also includes an in-depth analysis of a single film to illuminate and inform its discussion of the chosen topic.
America on Film fearlessly approaches and tackles several controversial areas of representation in film, including the portrayal of both masculinity and femininity in film and African- and Asian-Americans in film. It devotes the entirety of Part V to an analysis of the depiction of sex and sexuality in American film, with a particular emphasis on the portrayal of homosexuality. Topics covered include:
- The structure and history of American filmmaking, including a discussion of the evolution of the business of Hollywood cinema
- African Americans and American film, with a discussion of BlacKkKlansman informing its examination of broader issues
- Asian, Latin/x, and Native Americans on film
- Classical Hollywood cinema and class, with an in-depth examination of The Florida Project
- Women in classical Hollywood filmmaking, including a discussion of the 1955 film, All that Heaven Allows
Perfect for undergraduate and graduate students in film, media, and diversity-related courses, the book also belongs on the shelves of anyone interested in diversity issues in the context of American studies, communications, history, or gender studies. Lastly, it’s ideal for use within corporate diversity training curricula and human relations training within the entertainment industry.
Harry M. Benshoff is Professor of Media Arts at the University of North Texas. He received his PhD in Critical Studies at the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. His research focuses include the representation of African Americans and queer people in film and television, particularly within the horror genre.
Sean Griffin is Professor in the Division of Film and Media Arts at Southern Methodist University. He received his doctorate from the University of Southern California in 1997. He has written and studied extensively in the area of queer representation in film, as well as the history of the American musical film.
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