module specification

SJ5072 - Stardom and Performance (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Stardom and Performance
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Portfolio of Research and Planning
Coursework 60%   Final Essay (3,000 Words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

The module explores ideas around stardom and performance, considering their significance in relation to notions of identity, cultural context, filmic narrative and audience reception. A number of case studies will be examined as the module explores shifting ideas of stardom across both eras and screen media. Examining the ways in which individual stars’ images are constructed in relation to cultural attitudes towards race, gender and broader political contexts, the module explores the cultural significance and impact of stars. In addition, students learn how the performance styles of individual stars contribute to the creation of both character and star image. The module also promotes students’ primary research on the course, which is prompted through developmental assessment in which students are able to examine a star of their choice in relation to a particular topic.

This module aims to:

• Explore and debate issues of stardom, performance and star imagery

• Examine definitions of stardom as well as the various ways in which star images are constructed

• Locate and critically analyse star images within a cultural context

• Critically analyse the impact of star imagery and performance on film narrative and audience reception

• Develop students’ skills in original research

Prior learning requirements



The module will explore a variety of issues around stardom, star images and performance. Students are introduced to the core development of star mythology through film narratives which construct notions of charisma, similarity and difference.

Students will explore the variety of means through which star images are constructed, including fan magazines, general press, film reviews and screen performance.

The importance of performance style will be examined with respect to screen imagery, characterisation and narrative themes.

Through a number of case studies, the significance of star images in relation to cultural context and issues of identity will be explored.

Shifting ideas of stardom will also be considered, from key notions of glamour and aspiration in the Hollywood studio era, to contemporary television celebrity and the reality show.

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning and teaching on the module will be conducted via lectures, seminars, screenings, blended learning and students’ guided independent study. Students will be expected to enhance their learning in scheduled classes through guided research. Assessments tailored around individual student case studies provide students with the opportunity for primary research and planning in a developmental assessment strategy through to their final essays. This strategy, in addition, promotes students’ personal development, as individualized feedback on their planning and research enables students to reflect on and develop their learning and approach, providing for improved outcomes in their final essays.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

(1) Critically debate key issues around stardom and performance

(2) Explore the construction of star images in relation to a variety of sources

(3) Critically analyse star images in relation to cultural context and issues of identity

(4) Critically analyse the impact of star images and performance on film narrative

(5) Demonstrate skills and abilities of original research in relation to star images

Assessment strategy

The module’s strategy of assessment both promotes developmental learning and research and enables students to demonstrate key skills and engagement with module content.

The first assignment provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate skills in original research as well as essay planning in preparation for the final assignment. Formal feedback will be provided on this assignment. (LO2, LO3, LO5)

Through the final essay, students will have the opportunity to demonstrate the development of their research and planning, incorporating tutor feedback, and their ability to critically analyse issues of stardom and performance in relation to a star or stars of their choice. (LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5)


Core Texts:
Richard Dyer, Stars, 1979 (London: BFI, 1998)
Christine Gledhill, Stardom: Industry of Desire (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 1991)
Karen McNally, When Frankie Went to Hollywood: Frank Sinatra and American Male Identity (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2008)
James Naremore, Acting in the Cinema (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998)
Steven J. Ross, Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Other Texts:
Cynthia Baron and Sharon Marie Carnicke (eds.), Reframing Screen Performance (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008)
James Morrison (ed.), Hollywood Reborn: Movie Stars of the 1970s (New Brunswick and London: Rutgers University Press, 2010)
Anthony Slide, Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Starmakers, Fabricators and Gossip Mongers (Jackson, Mississippi: University of Mississippi Press, 2010)
Ian Gregory Strachan and Mia Mask (eds.), Poitier Revisited: Reconsidering a Black Icon in the Obama Age (New York and London: Bloomsbury, 2015)

Camera Obscura
Cinema Journal
European Journal of American Culture
Michigan Quarterly Review
New Review of Film and Television Studies