Hollywood at the Tipping Point: Blockbuster Cinema, Globalization, and the Cultural Logic of Ecology

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Rust, Stephen A.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-18T18:43:20Z
dc.date.issued 2012-09-18
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1794/12299
dc.description x, 180 pages en_US
dc.description.abstract Twenty-first century American cinema is permeated by images of globalization and environmental change. Responding to what Yale researchers have described as a “sea change” in public perceptions of global warming occurring between 2004 and 2007, this dissertation provides the first extended examination of Hollywood’s response to the planet’s most pressing social and environmental challenge – global climate change. Among the most widely distributed and consumed forms of popular culture, Hollywood blockbuster films provide a unique textual window into the cultural logic of ecology during this important turning point in Americans’ perceptions of environmental risk. The term “cultural logic of ecology” is defined as the collective cultural expression of a society’s dominant perceptions and enactments of its relationships with other organisms and their shared bio-physical environments. Surveying the history of climate cinema, my second chapter examines the production and reception contexts of the two films most responsible for renewing public interest in global warming: The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and An Inconvenient Truth (2006). Despite their generic differences, both films combine the formal techniques of melodrama and realism to translate the science of global warming into a moral vernacular. In subsequent chapters, I further intertwine textual and historical analysis to examine other films released during the period that portray aspects of global warming. Considered a children’s film, Happy Feet (2006) employs digital animation to illustrate the ecological impacts of globalization on Antarctica, thus presenting viewers with a more accurate picture of the threats facing emperor penguins than did the documentary March of the Penguins (2005). I next analyze There Will Be Blood (2007) as a critique of patriarchy and natural resource exploitation that resonated with American filmgoers as oil prices were skyrocketing and President George W. Bush admitted “America is addicted to oil.” Consumed on Imax screens and iPods, and as toys, t-shirts, and video games, blockbusters leave massive cultural and carbon footprints. I conclude by arguing that ecocritical scholarship offers the most effective scholarly toolkit for understanding contemporary cinema as a cultural, textual, and material phenomenon. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Committee in charge: Dr. Michael Aronson, Chairperson; Dr. Sangita Gopal, Member; Dr. Louise Westling, Member; Dr. Jon Lewis, Member, from Oregon StateUniversity; Dr. Patrick Bartlein, Outside Member
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights rights_reserved en_US
dc.subject Climate change en_US
dc.subject Environmental studies en_US
dc.subject Film studies en_US
dc.subject Health and environmental sciences en_US
dc.subject Communication and the arts en_US
dc.subject Earth sciences en_US
dc.subject Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.) en_US
dc.subject Globalization en_US
dc.subject Cultural logic en_US
dc.subject Climatic changes en_US
dc.subject Ecocriticism en_US
dc.subject Hollywood cinema en_US
dc.title Hollywood at the Tipping Point: Blockbuster Cinema, Globalization, and the Cultural Logic of Ecology en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.embargo 2014-12-28


Files in this item

Files Size Format View
Rust_Stephen_A_phd2011su.pdf 555.4Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record