HW Repping Class?

Terry Excellent, Spring 2021

Our class 3 discussion began to consider a historical formation of cultural production in the U.S. that was deeply tied to a left-wing “communist” political formation that elevated issues of class and racial injustice as central to building a movement to address the 1930s breakdown of the capitalist system, aka “The Great Depression.”  (Wow; that’s a mighty long sentence.)

Free write responses to the following prompts:

1.  How are issues of socioeconomic class represented by the Hollywood (HW) apparatus?  

    • Note:  We still haven’t defined the boundaries of what is HW, so reference whatever for you, seems to fit.
    • Provide some examples of how class is — or not — represented?
    • In what ways, if any, are issues of class and race seen as intersectional?
    • In what ways, if any, does your class status (positionality) impact how you see “class” portrayed? 

2.  How does socioeconomic class fit in discourses of “diversity and inclusion”?  Here’ some prompts:

      • In the first half of the term, in this course, how have issues of class and Hollywood been addressed?
      • In other courses in the Dept. of Communication and beyond, how are issues of class (inequality) and representation addressed?
      • How is socioeconomic class and (Hollywood) representation addressed in social media streams that address issues of diversity and inclusion; and/or, how is class part of the discourse in any social media streams you favor?     
      • In these social media streams, in what ways, if any, are intersections of race and class addressed?  
      • What are your thoughts on how class fits into “diversity and inclusion”?

3.  How is activism represented by Hollywood?  Here’s some prompts:

        • How are activists represented?
        • Collective activism?  Around class inequality/poverty/capitalism, workers’ rights and the labor movement, housing affordability/homelessness, racism (systemic/interpersonal), sexism/misogyny/rape culture, gender identity/queer culture, ableism, ageism, immigrant rights, climate crisis, what else?
        • In what ways, if any, might these representations impact y/our perspective on activism?  
        • How is collective activism on any of these issues part of the social media streams you follow?  If so, provide some examples.  

Reading questionspost on your rolling Google doc.  Send link to instructor:  jsaxe@umass.edu.  Include date and name of assignment at the top of your response notes.  Single-space, proof-read.  No more than 1-2 pages.

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