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“Special Affects” Explores Links Between Cartoons And Consumer Culture

Communications professor Eric S. Jenkins’ new book looks at how Disney animated features have shaped consumer culture and the American dream.

Date: 7/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
By: Sean Pace-Scrivener
Phone: (513) 556-8577

UC ingot   Anyone who watched “Bambi” as a child can attest to the power of animation to make an emotional connection with viewers. Animated movies, particularly the Disney films of the 20th century, are known for creating rich characters that both inspire the imagination and touch the heart.

“Special Affects: Cinema, Animation and the Translation of Consumer Culture,” a new book from University of Cincinnati professor Eric S. Jenkins, delves into how animation makes these emotional connections and the impact these connections have had on us as fans, consumers, and Americans.

The book examines how “Snow White” first brought audiences to tears, the rise of the American pilgrimage to Disney World and Disney’s pioneering of corporate synergy. Explaining that the American dream evolved from “Whistle While You Work” to “When You Wish Upon A Star,” Jenkins explores links between the rise of the animated feature and the growth of consumer culture through the 20th century.

Published by Edinburgh University Press, “Special Affects” combines film theory, history and philosophy to re-examine 20th century animation and explore the connection between the animated form and consumerism. The book is slated for release on July 31, and preorders are available now.

Jenkins is an assistant professor of communications at the University of Cincinnati’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, where he studies the connection between media technology and consumerism, with a particular focus on visual media. His work has been recognized by the Media Ecology Association and National Communication Association. “Special Affects” is his first book.

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