Introduction: naming the nation in US film
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Across the range of American cultural, film and media studies, one constant assumption is that films made in the United States of America have been and continue to be significantly imbricated with changing notions of American national identity. And at a time when the expanded projection of US political, military, economic and cultural power draws intensified global concern, to understand the ways in which that country understands itself seems, more than ever, an essential project. Yet concretizing the relationship between so multifarious, amorphous and – in regard to merely one country within an identically named hemisphere – grandiose a national signifier as ‘American’ on the one hand, and, on the other, film-making institutions such as ‘Hollywood’, whose own history and practices are themselves often inadequately understood, has proved predictably troublesome.