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Nick Heffernan

Lecturer in American Studies and Film Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Teaching Summary

I teach a range of first-year core modules: Q41103 American Literature 1: American Literature to 1900; the multi-disciplinary module, Q41401 Approaches to American Culture 1: An Introduction; and its… read more

Research Summary

I am currently working on a study of the American crime film from 1930 to the present entitled, Left-Handed Endeavour: The Politics and Ideology of the Hollywood Crime Film. The book considers the… read more

Selected Publications

I teach a range of first-year core modules: Q41103 American Literature 1: American Literature to 1900; the multi-disciplinary module, Q41401 Approaches to American Culture 1: An Introduction; and its companion module, Q41402 Approaches to American Culture 2: Developing Themes and Perspectives.

I offer two second-year optional modules: Q42139 Hollywood and Crime, a study of the politics and ideology of crime films from 1930 to the present; and Q42317 The American Pop Century, an analytical survey of American popular music genres in the Twentieth Century.

I offer a final-year optional module, Q43338 Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures which explores popular music in the United States as a site of ideological and political struggle.

I have supervised Masters research projects and PhDs in the areas of American film, American literature, and American popular music.

Current Research

I am currently working on a study of the American crime film from 1930 to the present entitled, Left-Handed Endeavour: The Politics and Ideology of the Hollywood Crime Film. The book considers the crime film as a composite genre comprised of a range of sub-genres, each with its own commercial, formal and cultural history, and each with a distinctive set of aesthetic characteristics and ideological concerns. It examines closely the forces, both broadly social and specific to the film industry, which have shaped the emergence and development of crime sub-genres. And it provides detailed readings of many films to illustrate the ways in which crime sub-genres have mediated a range of ideological problems and debates central to American experience from the New Deal to War on Terror. Based on extensive primary research in the archives of the Production Code Administration, Hollywood's internal censorship authority 1930-1968, the book also explores how industry self-regulation influenced the movies' portrayals of crime, establishing conventions and regimes of representation that persist strongly into the present.

Past Research

I have a long-standing interest in the relationship between cultural representations and economic processes. This was the subject of my first book, Capital, Class and Technology in Contemporary American Culture: Projecting Post-Fordism (2000). I continue to research in this area, especially in relation to the work of novelists such as Don DeLillo, Richard Powers, David Foster Wallace and William Gibson and their figurations of shifts in regimes of accumulation and class consciousness.

As co-editor and contributor to a collection called Culture, Environment and Ecopolitics (2011) I have also published in the field of environmental studies and ecocriticism.

Future Research

I am developing ideas for a study of the representation and mediation of American popular music in fiction and film. I am especially interested in the ways in which African-American music has been treated in these media, particularly as forms such as ragtime, blues, jazz and rhythm and blues have crossed over into the commercial mainstream and been embraced by transracial and global audiences. Aspects of this study have been published in journal articles and book chapters dealing with movie musicals about the blues, with novels that deal with African American music in the context of racial identity and authenticity, and with characterisations of 1960s rock music in fiction and underground journalism.

Department of American and Canadian Studies

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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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