Ranked by the American Film Institute (AFI) as the “greatest female star in the history of American cinema,” Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) lived as originally as so many of the heroines she depicted in her movies. This seminar examines a corpus of films and roles that defined the pioneering Hepburn as an actress, a businesswoman, and progressive thinker. This course will also analyze critical and audience reception to gain familiarity with the historical context in which these films premiered throughout the decades. Hepburn’s career will therefore serve as a prism through which students will discuss issues such as the Hollywood studio system, the McCarthy era, the rise of the television industry, the changing role of women in the 20th century, and civil rights in the U.S. Why was Katharine Hepburn considered so unconventional, outspoken, and defiant during her own time? How was she able to ensure her inimitable and enduring legacy? Included in this course will be a field trip to the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College in conjunction with activities from Harnwell College House’s ArtsHouse Residential Program.