Cinema and uplift: health discourses and social activism in the U.S. 1910-1930

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2011
End date: 31/12/2013
Funding: 1800000 SEK


Moving pictures pedagogical wherewithal and their usefulness for civic education have recurrently provided a rationale for the medium, particularly during the formative decades of cinema. This discourse runs in tandem with anxieties concerning undesirable representations offering detrimental instruction. Utopian and dystopian perspectives blend in the debate. The ability of the film medium to reach a wide audience has underpinned an array of campaigns, and was to be used for large-scale but heterogeneous information and educational projects managed primarily by private organizations. Moving pictures pedagogical might and their potential for civic education infused high hopes for the work to raise awareness about modern society and its social and sanitary evils. This didactic is particularly prominent in the U.S. during the Progressive Era 1910-1930 when such commitments recurrently provided a rationale for the medium. The aim of the proposed project is to examine three prominent civic organizations that during the first decades of the 20th century used moving pictures in their campaign work. The preeminent American organizations Rockefeller Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation and American Red Cross were all non-profit organizations and pioneers when it comes to social and medical activism. The project consists of three case studies were campaign strategies both nationally and internationally are analyzed in regards to the use of moving pictures as an educational tool.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:59