The American Film History Reader

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What do we talk or write about when we talk and write about American film history? The answer is predictably complex and elusive. The American Film History Reader acknowledges and accommodates this complex task by showcasing a range of historical writing demonstrating that when we talk or write about film history we, by necessity, talk and write about a lot of different things.

The American Film History Reader provides a selective history of American cinema and offers an introduction to historiographic practice in relation to American moviemaking and moviegoing.

The Reader is composed of eighteen essays organized into six thematic sections:

  • Industrial Practice
  • Technology
  • Reception
  • Films and Filmmakers
  • Censorship and Regulation
  • Stardom

Appreciating that methods and materials change over time, this structure allows the editors to showcase a breadth of historiographic approaches and a range of research materials within each section. Each essay acts as a point of entry into a history that accounts for the essential and inherent commercial, experiential, social, and cultural aspects of the medium.

All eighteen essays are individually introduced by the editors, who provide additional context and suggestions for further reading, making it an ideal resource for students of film studies and particularly for students taking courses on film history.

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