Hollywood and Politics in the 1950s and Beyond

AHA Session 180
Saturday, January 8, 2011: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Room 311 (Hynes Convention Center)
Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Marilyn Monroe and the Sexual Politics of Hollywood
Lois W. Banner, University of Southern California
Harry Belafonte, Hollywood, and Movement Politics
Lary May, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Jill S. Fields, California State University at Fresno

Session Abstract

While the 1950s represented a period of decline for the United States motion picture industry from its “Golden Age,” Hollywood remained an important and influential arena for the interplay of politics, Left and Right, domestic and international, racial and sexual.  By focusing on three major Hollywood figures—gossip columnist and conservative anti-communist Hedda Hopper, movie actress and glamorous star Marilyn Monroe, and celebrity civil rights activist Harry Belafonte—this panel examines how their prominence in America's popular culture made them significant political figures as well as their agency in and accommodation to the prevailing political forces in their era.

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