Includes bibliographical references and index. Early Audiences: Myths and Models 3. Reception, Textual System, and Self-Definition 5. Genesis, Causes, Concepts of History 7. Film History, Archaeology Universal Language 8. Hieroglyphics, Figurations of Writing 9.
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Includes bibliographical references and index. Early Audiences: Myths and Models 3. Reception, Textual System, and Self-Definition 5. Genesis, Causes, Concepts of History 7. Film History, Archaeology Universal Language 8. Hieroglyphics, Figurations of Writing 9. Riddles of Maternity Male Star, Female Fans As the cinema began to separate itself from the commercial entertainments in whose context films initially had been shown-vaudeville, dime museums, fairgrounds-a particular concept of its spectator was developed on the level of film style, as a means of predicting the reception of films on a mass scale.
In Babel and Babylon, Miriam Hansen offers an original perspective on American film by tying the emergence of spectatorship to the historical transformation of the public sphere. In this process, Hansen argues, the cinema might also have provided the conditions of an alternative public sphere for particular social groups, such as recent immigrants and women, by furnishing an intersubjective context in which they could recognize fragments of their own experience.
After tracing the emergence of spectatorship as an institution, Hansen pursues the question of reception through detailed readings of a single film, D. In each case the classical construction of spectatorship is complicated by factors of gender and sexuality, crystallizing around the fear and desire of the female consumer.
Babel and Babylon recasts the debate on early American cinema-and by implication on American film as a whole. It is a model study in the field of cinema studies, mediating the concerns of recent film theory with those of recent film history.
Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Film