Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Theatre


Theatre & Dance


College of Performing Arts


Hostetter, Elizabeth


Kazan, Elia; Anti-communist movements--United States


Theatre and Performance Studies


The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences awarded Elia Kazan a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the film industry at the 1999 Academy Awards ceremony. He received the award but amongst much controversy. Whether or not he deserved the Oscar has been debated, but the answer to that question is not the larger goal of this study. The purpose of this study is to examine what Elia Kazan's testimony to the House on Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) meant to Americans and the entertainment industry in the 1950s and in present times, and to determine what these meanings may suggest for artists and society in the future. That there is a thread that connects the past to the present and that this controversy forecasts relevant issues for our culture in the future is pertinent. The interdependence of art and politics in America plays a significant role in the Kazan debate. The ramifications of the Kazan's HUAC testimony in 1952 and his controversial 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award pervade America. The primary research methods of this project include an objective analysis of literature pertaining to the McCarthy era, the House Un- American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Hollywood, and Elia Kazan's career and HUAC testimony. Other methods included extensive investigation of electronic sources of past and present reactions to Kazan along with political and entertainment information. The conclusions provide relevance and connections between the Kazan controversy and artists of today.