This seminar will focus on the Hollywood melodrama from a postcolonial perspective.


Registration fee: €10

Registration form for Amerikahaus teacher seminars (112 kb)

Hollywood Melodrama in the Classroom

Teacher seminar / registration fee: €10 / Please register via our registration form


"Hollywood melodrama" usually refers to a set of iconic films and their characteristic style. The label evokes powerfully sentimental plots of suffering and sacrifice along with scenes of romantic bliss and estrangement, familial tragedy, fateful coincidences, and happy (or not-so-happy) endings. Ever since the emergence of the filmic formula in the first half of the 20th century, melodramas 'made in Hollywood' have been shown, on the one hand, to address and critique social injustices reflected in hierarchies of race, class, and gender in American society. Think, for instance, of Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows (1955; starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson) and its critique of snobbish hypocrisy and class-based prejudice.

On the other hand, it has also been pointed out that Hollywood melodramas have nostalgically affirmed systems of inequality and have even condoned slavery. Thus, a film such as Gone with the Wind (1939) has been repeatedly at the center of harsh controversy. The sentimental politics of the melodrama are ambivalent to this day and can also be traced in remakes, sequels, and other cultural forms. In this seminar, we will discuss selected melodramas and examine the cultural work they have performed. We will also widen our perspective to look beyond Hollywood and at least briefly acknowledge more recent appropriations of the genre of the melodrama in a postcolonial world.


9:00   An Introduction to Hollywood Melodrama, Past and Present

9:30   Case Studies from the 1930s to 50s

10:30 Coffee break

11:00  Case Studies from the 1960s to 90s

12:00 After 2000: From Hollywood to Bollywood, Nollywood and beyond

13:00 Open Discussion

14:00 End

Please register via our registration form or online via FIBS.
FIBS: Stiftung Bayerisches Amerikahaus gGmbH

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Heike Paul, FAU Nürnberg/Erlangen
Organizer: Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations

Contact: Sarah Martin (bibliothek@amerikahaus.de)
Registration fee: €10
Registration form for Amerikahaus Lehrerfortbildungen Herbst 2021 (112 kb)

(Photo: Hollywood sign © Vincentas Liskauskas / unsplash.com)

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