Date of Award
University Scholars Director
Dr. Jeff Keuss
animation, cartoons, disney, american, history, contemporary
This project attempts to elucidate the connection between animation and preconceptions about appropriate age demographics in the United States. It endeavors to demonstrate that animation has primarily remained a children’s medium because of contingent contextual factors, rather than elements inherent to the medium, and that its evolution over time is proof of its merits as a medium. Through an exploration of the Golden Age of animation between the late 1930s and the late 1950s, as well as an exploration of animation between 1988 and the present, it uses various examples within film, television, and theatrical shorts to show limitations placed on the medium. These limitations were created by a long, inerrant continuity created a small number of contextual factors near the beginning of animation as a storytelling medium, causing it to be marketed towards children and to be seen as something only for children. Both the preconceptions and the consequences of those contextual factors remain to this day, but American animation’s history has provided evidence that they are not inescapable.
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Meyer, Andrew, "Animation or Cartoons: An American Dilemma" (2016). Honors Projects. 40.