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The Life and Death of Hollywood with Daniel Bessner

In this episode of Talking History, Patrick and Djene speak to Dr. Daniel Bessner about the history of Hollywood.

In 2023, the Writers Guild of America, which represents over 11,000 screenwriters, went on strike. One of the central areas of their dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was residuals from streaming services. The work stoppage culminated, after 148 days of industrial action and an estimated $6.5 billion loss to the Californian economy, in a new agreement ratified by the WGA members. However, in a recent piece published in Harper’s Magazine entitled “The Life and Death of Hollywood,” historian Daniel Bessner, argues that film and television writers continue to face an existential threat.

Daniel Bessner


Daniel Bessner is an associate professor of history at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. You can read his piece in Harper’s Magazine.

Djene Bajalan is a historian and a member of the faculty in the Department of History at Missouri State University. He was born, raised, and educated in the United Kingdom and holds a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford. His research focuses on the Ottoman Empire and he teaches courses on the history of the Middle East.<br/><br/>
Patrick Needham is a mechanic and fabricator with a love for History. Born in Colorado and raised in Taney County, Missouri, Pat loves the Ozarks with the zeal of a convert. Not formally trained in History, he brings an everyman touch to the show. He hopes his fellow Ozarkers find lessons and parallels in the past.