Finally, power is back on in (parts) of Lower Manhattan, so here is my extremely late blog post. Please forgive my ramblings, as living in the dark for 5 days has gone to my head!
Robert B Ray’s “Film and Literature” looks the relatively recent academic work done on film and literature together. If it was (and in some cases, still is) so difficult for some academics see film and literature (as one entity) as a subject worthy of academia, who and what determines what can be studied?
Anything in academia usually needs to be validated in order to be “worthy” of study. Ray notes that in the 60s and 70s, “the market for Ph.D’s in literature fell apart” (129). This kind of economic downfall was indicative of the outlooks and views on literature—that people were not interested in it and did not believe it to be valuable. This kind of notion of literature being unworthy of study is slightly alien to academics today. So based on what Ray has said, what is considered worthy of academia is to be decided by the academics themselves, and the economic climate (what is in demand). Yet, if this is the case, film and literature is considered to be part of academia, but how did it get this way? Ray offers no direct chronology. But if I were to use the example of the Harry Potter film series, I believe that many will consider it to be non-academic (and to some extent, some don’t believe the book series to be academic as well, even though there are academic courses on children’s literature). So while there is no one person that can define what is academic or not, it is people such a Ray that push for film and literature studies. So just by having one person who believes something can be studies and research, it gives some credibility. So if we are to revisit Harry Potter, just by having someone who believes there is validity to study it (maybe about how the working class within the wizarding world is consciously ignored by both the books and the films), then it is already validated.