Stars and Celebrity Culture - MSTU6340

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 30 (15) Oscar Zhou checkmark-circle


This module examines the concepts of stardom and celebrity. Often used as synonyms, the two terms in fact relate to different types of media constructs. The module will consider the history of the rise of stardom within the Hollywood context, exploring how the establishment of 'the star' became an integral part of the industry. Students will examine the ‘star system’ and its relationship to a range of topics which may include: performance; genre; the representation of gender and gendered bodies; audiences and fan studies; stars within dominant cultures and subcultural groups; and acting as labour. The topic will be illuminated through the analysis of key theoretical texts – many of which laid the foundations for star studies within film, media and cultural studies – as well as via opportunities for students to explore primary sources, such as movie magazines. The module also traces how the stardom industry described above became a component within a larger network of celebrity culture. Often characterised as a more contemporary phenomenon, the notion of ‘celebrity’ incorporates prominent figures in the public eye to whom the extension of fame is not necessarily based on any specific skill, talent or achievement. The module explores this context in conjunction with the apparent decline of the dominance of Hollywood stars, as a variety of mediated identities are promoted, consumed and commodified within diverse media landscapes. Using scholarship from within the interdisciplinary field of celebrity studies, students analyse how celebrities can take on many forms including actors, TV personalities and influencers, using different media platforms such as film, television, online streaming and social media. The importance of media technologies within both the study of stars and celebrity culture is stressed throughout the course.


Contact hours

Private Study: 267
Contact Hours: 33
Total: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay (40%)
Digital portfolio (60%)

Reassessment methods
Like for like

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate understanding of the key concepts in approaches to stardom and celebrity
2. Evaluate critically the specific historical contexts that led to the emergence of movie stardom
3. Analyse the critical and historical differences between stardom and celebrity
4. Analyse the roles played by a variety of stakeholders in the construction of stardom and celebrity: fans, audiences, performers, employers, and the media
5. Display comprehension of the relationship between the star and the celebrity, and relate these to their political, social, historical and geographic contexts
6. Understand the role of technology in the creation, dissemination and mediation of the star and celebrity image

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Employ developed skills in historical and critical enquiry, analysis and interpretation
2. Examine and debate a variety of conceptual approaches
3. Organise and use specific analytical arguments
4. Scrutinise texts and selectively apply critical and theoretical ideas to them
5. Express their own ideas clearly to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods
6. Experience both teamwork and working alone to organise their private research


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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