Race and identity in Hollywood war cinema: the changing nature of America's relationship with "otherness" in films on Japan and Vietnam

Farquharson, Paul (2008) Race and identity in Hollywood war cinema: the changing nature of America's relationship with "otherness" in films on Japan and Vietnam. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation aims to investigate the way Hollywood deals with notions of race and identity, specifically through the war film genre. Using a mixture of primary sources and secondary sources, I investigate the ways that Hollywood's attitude to representing race change over the course of 40 years. The discussion is focussed on a selection of key films spanning the period. I also make use of a range of primary materials - including newspaper cuttings, weekly magazines and journals - as well as secondary sources drawn from film studies and critical theory. I highlight the changes which are observable over time in cinema about the war in the Pacific. I also consider the relatively small changes in representation that are seen in films about Vietnam. I argue that there has been a definite progression and move towards more objective representations, but that this is subject to constraints. These findings are set within the context of Postcolonial theory, and specifically the ideas of Orientalism - looking very much at the stereotypes that continue to inform Western views of the East. I also put forward the notion that the American sense of self-identity is critical to understanding the ways in which their films represent cultural beliefs. In this light, I conclude that Americans struggle to perceive other cultures or races in anything other than an introspective - and ultimately subjective - manner.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/559

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