As denizens of today's media-saturated environment we have become inured to the presence of advertising and commodified imagery wherever we turn. It is has thus become all the more important for us to try and understand the history of the "image- as we understand it today.
In America everybody is but some are more than others.
Famous people fascinate us. Particularly in America, where the culture of the American Dream and the cult of success are woven into the fabric of our everyday lives, celebrity informs both our sense of individual identity and our relations with others. However, fame functions differently for different segments of the population. For those running the entertainment industry, stars are investments, integral components of elaborate marketing strategies. For audiences, stars are objects both of desire and of loathing, identification and alienation. For the stars themselves, the experience of having a public persona is both a marvelous social opportunity and an enormous private burden. Cultural critics of the modern era tended to critique or celebrate stars as expressions of the American ideology of individualism. More recent cultural critics have tended to see stars as embodying anxieties about gender, sexual, racial, and ethnic identity. Focusing principally, though not exclusively, on the film, television and music industries, in this course we will study literary and cinematic narratives dealing with fame and notoriety alongside academic and popular studies of celebrity in America in order to relate these many functions to each other in terms of both historical continuity and historical change over the course of the last century. .
Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Dustin Hoffman " these among many others are names synonymous with Hollywood. Early on, Hollywood saw that recognizable talent could minimize the financial risks of film production. Critics, film scholars, and studio publicists view the stars from many angles, as marketing tools, cultural icons, and products of the industry.