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Reclaiming heritage: colourization, culture wars and the politics of nostalgia

Grainge, Paul

Authors

Paul Grainge paul.grainge@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

This article considers the discursive continuities between a specifically liberal defence of cultural patrimony, evident in the debate over film colourization, and the culture war critique associated with neo-conservatism. It examines how a rhetoric of nostalgia, linked to particular ideas of authenticity,canonicity and tradition,has been mobilized by the right and the left in attempts to stabilize the confguration and perceived transmission of American cultural identity. While different in scale, colourization and multiculturalism were seen to create respective (postmodern) barbarisms against which defenders of culture, heritage and good taste could unite. I argue that in its defence of the ‘classic’ work of art, together with principles of aesthetic distinction and the value of cultural inheritance,the anti-colourization lobby helped enrich and legitimize a discourse of tradition that, at the end of the 1980s, was beginning to reverberate powerfully in the conservative challenge to a ‘crisis’ within higher education and the humanities. This article attempts to complicate the contemporary politics of nostalgia, showing how a defence of cultural patrimony has distinguished major and minor culture wars, engaging left and right quite differently but with similar presuppositions.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 1999
Journal Cultural Studies
Print ISSN 0950-2386
Electronic ISSN 0950-2386
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 4
Institution Citation Grainge, P. (1999). Reclaiming heritage: colourization, culture wars and the politics of nostalgia. Cultural Studies, 13(4), doi:10.1080/095023899335077
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/095023899335077
Keywords Nostalgia, Colourization, Heritage, Postmodern, Multiculturalism, Authenticity
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcus20/13/4
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cultural Studies on 09/11/2010, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline...0.1080/095023899335077.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf




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