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SALZBURG SEMINAR AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION

Past Program

Nov 15 - Nov 19, 2012

Screening America: Film and Television in the 21st Century

SSASA 10

Abstract

The Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA) is organizing a four day symposium on American film and television, to be held at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg, Austria, from November 15-19, 2012. All activities will take place at the historic Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria, and the adjacent Meierhof. The symposium is open to individuals working or interested in areas related to the topic. The symposium will focus on developments in American film and television since the turn of the millennium and the way they reflect and communicate messages and images about varied aspects of life and culture.

As we edge further into the 21st century there have been notable changes in the modern media and particularly in the film and television industries. The symposium will concern itself both with these changes and with the ways in which film and television have reflected and engaged with America and abroad. In the cinema, the documentary has become a significant force while television, partly as a result of cable -- particularly HBO and AMC, but also through a network such as NBC -- has attracted major talents from the theatre and the novel to produce genre series which compare favorably to any of world television. Why and how has this come about? Has this had any impact on mainstream television or movies? How has it affected the perception of America around the world?

In addition to sessions related to and the impact of films and television on individuals, our sessions will also explore the institutional effect of films and television on the arts, technology and politics of the United States and ultimately their relation to the perception of America abroad. We will examine the global politics of film making since Hollywood films are part of this modern global system, asking what film and television tell us about the new century, and the American political system. Discussions will include the impact of new technologies and the impact of new methods of film making and distribution.

As print journalism declines, television news falls prey to ideologues, and the blogger assumes an equal authority to the trained professional, where will we turn for our understanding of a changing world? Do we need to concern ourselves, as once we did, with the impact that American film and television products have on local media industries and people around the world?