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Title: ENGL 381-01, The Good Old Days: Fifities American Cinema, Spring 2009
Authors: Richards, Rashna
Keywords: English, Department of;Syllabus;Curriculum;Academic departments;Text;2009 Spring
Issue Date: 14-Jan-2009
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Series/Report no.: Syllabi CRN
Abstract: Fifties America is often imagined as an era of general goodwill and increasing affluence, as a suburban wonderland inhabited by upright men in suits and hats, driving shiny cars, and upbeat women in pretty dresses and pearls, cheerfully working in their hi-tech kitchens. Shaped by reruns of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, the decade is pictured in black-and-white, as an orderly age filled with unwavering optimism and communal harmony. But the fifties was also the era of the Beats, Betty Friedan, and Brown v. Board of Education; Elvis, rock and roll, and the hula hoop; Cold War hysteria, nuclear fears, and anticommunist witch hunts. How did Hollywood respond to this ostensibly placid, often tumultuous, and ultimately conflicted decade? This course will explore the range of American motion pictures from this period, especially within the context of shifts in the structure and status of Hollywood due to the studios' divorce from their theater chains, the rise of television, and the panic over the blacklist. In particular, we will examine how 1950s cinema addresses issues like generational conflict, as in Rebel without a Cause; Cold War politics, as in On the Waterfront; changing sexual attitudes, as in From Here to Eternity; and bourgeois entrapment, as in Rear Window and Vertigo. Toward the end of the semester, we will investigate how the "happy days" notion of the fifties continues to be nostalgized, contested, and reimagined in contemporary American culture.
Description: This syllabus was submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by the course instructor.
Appears in Collections:Course Syllabi

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