Friday, 19 March 2010

Read all about it: first issue of Celebrity Studies

Publicity shot of the celebratedly "eternally young"
(boyishly middle-aged) film star Jackie Chan

Film Studies For Free is delighted to flag up Routledge's new journal Celebrity Studies as its inaugural issue is available free to download online. A quick glance at the names of editors and contributors will show that this is a highly worthwhile new venture. A detailed examination of its rationale and its contents underscores that very positive first impression.

Celebrity Studies focuses on the critical exploration of celebrity, stardom and fame. It seeks to make sense of celebrity by drawing upon a range of (inter)disciplinary approaches, media forms, historical periods and national contexts.

FSFF's increasingly ancient author particularly enjoyed the most 'film studies' oriented article in this issue: Chris Holmlund's wonderful essay 'Celebrity, Ageing, And Jackie Chan: Middle-Aged Asian In Transnational Action'. Below is the abstract for that contribution, and below that are direct links to all the issue's contents:
Assessing ageing is one of the key tasks confronting celebrity and star studies today. If film could reflect upon its own relation to death only from the 1950s on, in films such as Sunset boulevard (1950) and Whatever happened to Baby Jane (1962), where 'the aging process of the first generation of stars exposed a glamour worn thin on screen', today 'the allure of the star' is most definitely 'inseparable from his or her heroism and ruin' (Celeste 2005, Journal of Popular Film and Television, 33, pp. 32, 29). Today, moreover, middle age increasingly matters. With 78 million people in the US aged 44-62, internet and print marketing, movies, television and more tout rejuvenation through Botox, steroids, plastic surgery and wardrobe/cosmetic make-overs. Hollywood stars and celebrities point us towards a brave new world where mature adulthood is seen primarily in chronological, biological and medical terms. It is no coincidence that photographs of healthy, wealthy stars grace each issue of AARP Magazine. Trainers, nips, tucks, lighting, make-up and digital retouching all help. Nor is it coincidence that roughly half are men - most white; a goodly number black. What, however, of middle-aged, Asian, male celebrities? Global mega-star Jackie Chan offers the perfect opportunity to explore ageing, race and masculinity in transnational action. Drawing upon Gina Marchetti's analysis of Chan's 'flexible masculinity' in the Rush hour trilogy (2009), I study the nine films released theatrically post-2000 featuring the middle-aged star. In conclusion, I speculate upon what the future will bring, remembering that we are all 'aged by culture.' Screen Actors Guild (SAG) statistics chillingly indicate just how few roles are available to actors (if especially to actresses) of all races after 40. Asians in particular are marginalised. Might other models of ageing be possible? How do film stars and celebrities impact upon conceptions and experiences of ageing today in our increasingly 'mediagenic' culture? Jackie Chan serves here as 'special case' and as 'test case'.

Volume 1, Issue 1: Table of Contents


      Celebrity Forum:

        Book Reviews:


          HarryTuttle said...


          Catherine Grant said...

          And the prize for best comment yet on this blog goes to.... HarryTuttle! ah well, Harry, it takes all sorts of scholarship to make a Subject... And this blog is a very pluralist space. Plus I do like Jackie Chan...

          Conrad DiDiodato said...

          This site is a gold mine!

          Meshes nicely with a lot of my own recent thinking on eliteracy and multi-media technologies.

          I see "celebrity studies" almost as a sine qua non of a high school teacher's job. Lots of material for classroom discussion.