The Hollywood Blacklist and the Whitewashing of American Culture

Date: Dec 12, 2022

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Sponsor: Online Learning | Public Lectures and Events

Location: Online

Category: Public Lectures & Events

The Hollywood Blacklist and the Whitewashing of American Culture 

Part of our fall learning series Dangerous Ideas: Censorship Through a Jewish Lens 

Monday, December 12, 2022, 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

With Ellie Gettinger, Director of Digital Learning, JTS

The Hollywood Blacklist is one censorious aspect of the larger Red Scare that limited the freedoms of speech and assembly through the 1950s. Yet the political policing and litmus tests required for screenwriters, actors, and producers in this period led to a monumental shift in the way that American culture was represented on screen (both large and small). On one hand, many of the blacklistees were Jewish, but the majority of studio executives were also Jewish and felt pressured to take a stand to avoid financial loss. This session will explore the political climate that led to the blacklist and how it fundamentally changed the film industry. 

Each Monday series has a new Zoom link.  Once you register for Dangerous Ideas: Censorship through a Jewish Lens, your registration admits you to all sessions in this series, and you may attend as many sessions as you’d like. 


Dangerous Ideas: Censorship Through a Jewish Lens  

Throughout Jewish history, certain texts and ideas have been deemed too dangerous to circulate—whether by outsiders who banned Jewish writings, or Jewish leaders who suppressed ideas considered heretical or beyond the pale. In this series, JTS scholars will examine efforts to control knowledge from ancient to contemporary times, exploring the ways in which censorship both reflects and shapes broader ideological struggles. They will discuss the varying motivations for controlling or revising narratives, and consider whether and under what circumstances it might make sense to suppress certain ideas. These discussions will illuminate past struggles and help us understand the battles over censorship and free expression playing out today.