Screening American Nostalgia

Essays on Pop Culture Constructions of Past Times


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About the Book

This book examines American screen culture and its power to create and sustain values. Looking specifically at the ways in which nostalgia colors the visions of American life, essays explore contemporary American ideology as it is created and sustained by the screen. Nostalgia is omnipresent, selling a version of America that arguably never existed. Current socio-cultural challenges are played out onscreen and placed within the historical milieu through a nostalgic lens which is tempered by contemporary conservatism. Essays reveal not only the visual catalog of recognizable motifs but also how these are used to temper the uncertainty of contemporary crises. Media covered spans from 1939’s Gone with the Wind, to Stranger Things, The Americans, Twin Peaks, the Fallout franchise and more.

About the Author(s)

Susan Flynn is the director of Educore, the education research center of the Institute of Technology, Carlow, Ireland, an associate researcher at University College Dublin and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom. She specializes in digital screen culture, equality and pedagogy.

Antonia Mackay is a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom. She specializes in American literature and culture, twentieth and twenty-first century literature and cultural and media studies.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Susan Flynn and Antonia Mackay

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 217
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8074-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4246-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction: Nostalgia, an Enduring Lens
Susan Flynn and Antonia Mackay 1
“No more than a dream remembered”: Gone with the Wind, Nostalgia and the Old South Plantation Imaginary
David Anderson 13
Western Nostalgia and the Cautionary Tale in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Scott Pearce 30
“Never start a fight, always finish it”: Police Corruption and Public Outrage in Clint Eastwood’s Changeling
Brennan Thomas 50
Stranger Things in Strange Times: Nostalgia, Surveillance and Temporality
Antonia Mackay 66
”­Super-secret spies, living next door”: Family and Soft Power in The Americans
Barbara Miceli 80
In the Engine Room of the Hyperreal: Nostalgia as Commodity Culture
Leander Reeves 98
Twin Peaks: The Return and the Gothic of Nostalgic Television
Joel Hawkes 114
Regulating Sex, Surveilling Sex: Pornographic Nostalgia in The Deuce
Kelly Coyne 133
Day Zero: Photographs at the Epicenter of History
Jennifer Good 147
The Once and Future Thing: Consumption, Nostalgia and Future SF Film Dystopias
Pete Boss 162
What Happened to the “Good Old Days”? Nostalgic Refraction in the Fallout Franchise
Jessica Ruth Austin 185
About the Contributors 205
Index 207