Learning to Drive: Mid-Century Guidance Films and the Middle-of-the-Road Politics of the American Road Movie
English Department Speakers Series Talk: Learning to Drive: Mid-Century Guidance Films and the Middle-of-the-Road Politics of the American Road Movie by Devin Orgeron
Thursday, October 12
3:00PM - 4:15PM
The American road movie’s place in international film history, its international progeny, exist not in isolation but in conversation with a widespread domestic need to domesticate the American driver, who had become a de-facto stand-in for a broader understanding of ‘American Youth’ in the years after World War II. Evidence of this need can be found in another, sub-cinematic boom occurring before and during the 1960s-1970s, as the first wave of American road movies was swelling: the American educational film. This presentation examines an historical, thematic and chronological range of what we might broadly refer to as ‘driver education films.’ The hope is to demonstrate the degree to which the classic American road movie from the 1960s-1970s was produced in conversation with these and related regulatory efforts. And that response, as we shall see, was often surprising in its concurrent regulatory impulses.
Devin Orgeron’s (Film Studies / English) teaching and publication focuses on nontheatrical and nonfiction film. This presentation, connected to a recent publication, links this activity to more familiar cinematic forms.
Hosted as part of the English Department Speaker Series.