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    Vassar College
  Nov 21, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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FILM 335 - Celebrity and Power: Stardom in Contemporary Culture

1 unit(s)
Celebrity fascinates Americans. It informs popular culture, professional sport and national politics. Yet what defines celebrity? How are stars manufactured by the Culture Industry? Why is the ubiquitous cult of celebrity so important in contemporary Western culture and across global mediascapes? Through classic and contemporary theoretical writings, the course examines stardom and various brands of star charisma. We interrogate conventional forms of celebrity power as well as the conversion of entertainment industry charisma into forms of political charisma and cultural capital (i.e., the careers of Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sidney Poitier, Jennifer Lopez, John Leguizamo, the Brangelina trademark, and Beyonce Knowles). The course will address the rise of reality television celebrities. As intertextual signs, stars reveal the instabilities, ambiguities and contradictions within a given culture. The changing configuration of American society is revealed in an examination of celebrity and stardom as social phenomena. This course transverses from Mary Pickford to Oprah Winfrey and beyond. Readings, screenings and writing assignments required. Mia Mask.

Prerequisite(s): FILM 175  or FILM 210 , and permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

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