The Norman Lear Center is a nonpartisan research and public policy center that studies the social, political, economic and cultural impact of entertainment on the world.
The Lear Center translates its findings into action through testimony, journalism, strategic research and innovative public outreach campaigns. On campus, from its base in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Lear Center builds bridges between schools and disciplines whose faculty study aspects of entertainment, media and culture. Beyond campus, it bridges the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public.
Through scholarship and research; through its conferences, public events and publications; through its role in the formulation of the academic field of entertainment studies; and in its attempts to illuminate and repair the world, the Norman Lear Center works to be at the forefront of discussion and practice in the field.
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The Lear Center was named in 2000 in appreciation for a major gift from television and movie writer, producer, and director Norman Lear, a pioneer of a more candid, socially realistic genre of television programming and a champion of democratic values. The founding of the Center celebrates the artistic innovation of such Lear shows as All in the Family, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and The Jeffersons; his willingness to take extraordinary creative and commercial risks in the name of quality; his passion for wrestling with issues of conscience while building a remarkable entertainment career.
Lear Center director Martin Kaplan holds the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media and Society at the USC Annenberg School, where he was Associate Dean for 10 years. A Harvard summa cum laude in molecular biology and president of The Harvard Lampoon, he was a Marshall Scholar in English at Cambridge University and earned a Ph.D. in modern thought and literature from Stanford. He was vice president Walter F. Mondale's chief speechwriter in the Carter Administratin as well as deputy campaign manager of Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign; vice president of Walt Disney Studios; a film and television writer and producer; an Air America Radio host and a regular on National Public Radio. He has been a columnist at the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles since 2008 and a featured Huffington Post blogger since its inception in 2005.
The shifting borders between what is entertainment and what is not
Imagination, illusion, and the art of attention-getting
THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF ENTERTAINMENT:
Its history, ownership, production, marketing, distribution, and globalization
How entertainment gets consumed -- what it does to us, and what we do with it
What it makes possible, and what it makes different
The rights and responsibilities of creators, producers, consumers, investors, and citizens
Practical implications for pedagogy, public policy, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and social change.
The Norman Lear Center
USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281