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Grant number like: FA-55982-11

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Richard O. Abel
Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 6/30/2012

Menus for Movie Land: Newspapers and the Emergence of American Film Culture, 1911-1916

The period of 1911-1916 was crucial in forming American film culture. A profitable alignment of newspapers and movies emerged in weekly pages and daily columns as "menus" mediating the interests of manufacturers/distributors, exhibitors and a new body of movie fans. This discourse, uncovered in extensive original research, shaped audiences' ephemeral experience of moviegoing, their repeated encounters with the fantasy worlds of "movie land," and a shared social imaginary of attraction to stories and stars. For the industry the issue was: could film promotion become a national phenomenon, producing a more or less homogeneous fan culture? For newspapers and exhibitors, by contrast: was it more often local, specific to certain social groups, making fan culture much more heterogeneous? Because women wrote or edited much of this discourse, were their targeted readers chiefly women spectators and were these new professionals seen as influential figures of the American New Woman?