Date of Award

12-2021

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

B.A. Art History

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Timothy Betz

Second Advisor

Kim Shively

Abstract

The artworld has largely revolved around traditional institutions like museums for centuries, however with the age of technology quickly evolving new artforms have risen to challenge these traditional spaces. Large corporations like The Walt Disney Company, have revolutionized the world of art and have become a prominent voice in representing cultures to a large population of the public. The two forces may be comparably different on the surface; however both are going through a progressive change as they enter the discussion of inclusive representation and accusations of cultural appropriation. The act of cultural appropriation concerns the negatively generated adaptations of a culture that can be seen as stereotypical or depicting the people of the traditions as being “other.” In recent years, the Disney company has established systems and initiatives to prevent misappropriation from occurring, as it had in the company's past. While the Disney and Pixar studios have released several culturally influenced films, this research will be limited to the analysis of the films that visualize North Native American culture: Pocahontas (1995) and Peter Pan (1953), and Mexican culture: The Three Caballeros (1945), and Coco (2017). The history of the company will be briefly covered to establish the processes and representation within the Walt Disney Company and the films will be analyzed by their influence stories, film’s content, and reactions to the movies. The addition of modern representations of the cultures will be included to show the evolving nature of representations within the Native American and Mexican communities.

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