New Politics of Cinema Studies

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George Lucas spoke about the didactic role of cinema and about his own work being presented through the “moral megaphone” of the film industry. A considerable body of scholarship on the six-part Star Wars series argues (unconvincingly) that the franchise promoted neo-conservatism in American culture from the late 1970s onward. But there is much in Lucas’ grand space opera to suggest something more ideologically complex is going on.  Engaging with Critical and Deconstructive theories this book challenges the view of the saga as an unambiguously violent text exemplifying reactionary politics, and discusses the films’ identity politics with regard to race and gender.

Read the unedited Preface here.

McDowell - Politics of Big Fantasy (cover)Bringing critical attention to a particular set of science fiction and fantasy films–Larry and Andy Wachowski’s The Matrix, George Lucas’ Star Wars saga, and Joss Whedon’s Avengers–this book utilizes a wide-ranging set of critical tools to illuminate their political ideologies, while also examining any resistant and complicating turns or byways the films may provide. What they all have in common ideologically is that they–or at least the genres they belong to–tend to be regarded as belonging to politically conservative frames of sociocultural reference. With the Star Wars saga, however, this idea is shown to be superficial and weak.

Read the book’s Introduction here.

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