114th Annual Conference - Pasadena, California
Friday, November 11 - Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Memory Factory: Hollywood's Influence on Historical Memory

Session Chair: 
Vanessa Griffith Osborne, University of Southern California
Los Feliz II


  1. Sandra Ross, University of Southern California
     While Hollywood has created its own mythology in films, much of the history of Los Angeles has been systematically erased for a variety of reasons. Some of this “forgetting” is motivated by socio-political, racial, and gendered forces. “Magical Thinking” dates back to the founding of Los Angeles.
  2. Wyatt D Phillips, Texas Tech University
    This paper will address how Hollywood and American narrative cinema more generally have represented the erasure of communities in the floodplains of dams built for hydroelectric purposes. Though thousands of such dams were built in the United States over the last 100 years, the number of films to address this is exceedingly small. How has Hollywood’s general avoidance of this topic impacted its historical memory in popular culture?
  3. This paper will examine The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) in terms of adaptation theory and argue that the film appropriates—rather than faithfully represents—the historical events on which it is based. The paper will also focus on ways in which the creative process that constructed the film’s narrative framework closely mirrors the story-telling strategies adopted by historians themselves. 
  4. Kristin Brunnemer, Pierce College
    This paper compares the films Jobs (Stern, 2013) and Steve Jobs (Boyle, 2015), showing how both utilize the narrative devices of Greek tragedy to replicate and reify Jobs’ status as an “innovator hero” (Smil 2011), a modern-day equivalent to Odysseus and Oedipus respectively.  In the process of retelling Jobs’ story, these films serve to archive and historicize Steve Jobs, Silicon Valley, and the era of personal computing in the public’s collective imagination.  
Session Cancelled: