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Signifying Without Specifying

Author: Stephanie Li
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 0813552109
Size: 58.64 MB
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On the campaign trail, Barack Obama faced a difficult task—rallying African American voters while resisting his opponents’ attempts to frame him as “too black” to govern the nation as a whole. Obama’s solution was to employ what Toni Morrison calls “race-specific, race-free language,” avoiding open discussions of racial issues while using terms and references that carried a specific cultural resonance for African American voters. Stephanie Li argues that American politicians and writers are using a new kind of language to speak about race. Challenging the notion that we have moved into a “post-racial” era, she suggests that we are in an uneasy moment where American public discourse demands that race be seen, but not heard. Analyzing contemporary political speech with nuanced readings of works by such authors as Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Colson Whitehead, Li investigates how Americans of color have negotiated these tensions, inventing new ways to signal racial affiliations without violating taboos against open discussions of race.

Double Consciousness And The Rhetoric Of Barack Obama

Author: Robert E. Terrill
Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Press
ISBN: 1611175321
Size: 40.62 MB
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Robert E. Terrill argues that, in order to invent a robust manner of addressing one another as citizens, Americans must learn to draw on the delicate indignities of racial exclusion that have stained citizenship since its inception. In Double-Consciousness and the Rhetoric of Barack Obama, Terrill demonstrates how President Barack Obama’s public address models such a discourse. Terrill contends that Obama’s most effective oratory invites his audiences to experience a form of “double-consciousness,” which was famously described by W. E. B. Du Bois as a feeling of “two-ness” resulting from the African American experience of “always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.” It is described as an effect of cruel alienation that can also bring a gift of “second-sight” in the form of perspectives on practices of citizenship not available to those in positions of privilege. When addressing fellow citizens, Obama is asking each to share in the “peculiar sensation” that Du Bois described. The racial history of U.S. citizenship is a resource for inventing contemporary ways of speaking about race. Joining with other work that suggests that double-consciousness may be a vital democratic attitude, Terrill extends those insights to consider it as a mode of address. Through close analyses of selected speeches from Obama’s 2008 campaign and first presidential term, this book argues that Obama does not present double-consciousness merely as a point of view but rather as an idiom with which we might speak to one another. Of course, as Du Bois’s work reminds us, double-consciousness results from imposition and encumbrance, so that Obama’s oratory presents a mode of address that emphasizes the burdens of citizenship together with the benefits, the price as well as the promise.

The Post Racial Mystique

Author: Catherine R. Squires
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814762891
Size: 42.31 MB
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Despite claims from pundits and politicians that we now live in a post-racial America, people seem to keep finding ways to talk about race—from celebrations of the inauguration of the first Black president to resurgent debates about police profiling, race and racism remain salient features of our world. When faced with fervent anti-immigration sentiments, record incarceration rates of Blacks and Latinos, and deepening socio-economic disparities, a new question has erupted in the last decade: What does being post-racial mean? The Post-Racial Mystique explores how a variety of media—the news, network television, and online, independent media—debate, define and deploy the term “post-racial” in their representations of American politics and society. Using examples from both mainstream and niche media—from prime-time television series to specialty Christian media and audience interactions on social media—Catherine Squires draws upon a variety of disciplines including communication studies, sociology, political science, and cultural studies in order to understand emergent strategies for framing post-racial America. She reveals the ways in which media texts cast U.S. history, re-imagine interpersonal relationships, employ statistics, and inventively redeploy other identity categories in a quest to formulate different ways of responding to race.

Shakespeare And Youtube

Author: Stephen O'Neill
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1441153985
Size: 79.84 MB
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The video-sharing platform YouTube signals exciting opportunities and challenges for Shakespeare studies. As patron, distributor and archive, YouTube occasions new forms of user-generated Shakespeares, yet a reduced Bard too, subject to the distractions of the contemporary networked mediascape. This book identifies the genres of YouTube Shakespeare, interpreting them through theories of remediation and media convergence and as indices of Shakespeare's shifting cultural meanings. Exploring the intersection of YouTube's participatory culture Â? its invitation to 'Broadcast Yourself' Â? with its corporate logic, the book argues that YouTube Shakespeare is a site of productive tension between new forms of self-expression and the homogenizing effects of mass culture. Stephen O'Neill unfolds the range of YouTube's Bardic productions to elaborate on their potential as teaching and learning resources. The book importantly argues for a critical media literacy, one that attends to identity constructions and to the politics of race and gender as they emerge through Shakespeare's new media forms. Shakespeare and YouTube will be of interest to students and scholars of Shakespearean drama, poetry and adaptations, as well as to new media studies.

Pan African American Literature

Author: Stephanie Li
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 0813592798
Size: 63.20 MB
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The twenty-first century is witnessing a dynamic broadening of how blackness signifies both in the U.S. and abroad. Literary writers of the new African diaspora are at the forefront of exploring these exciting approaches to what black subjectivity means. Pan-African American Literature is dedicated to charting the contours of literature by African born or identified authors centered around life in the United States. The texts examined here deliberately signify on the African American literary canon to encompass new experiences of immigration, assimilation and identification that challenge how blackness has been previously conceived. Though race often alienates and frustrates immigrants who are accustomed to living in all-black environments, Stephanie Li holds that it can also be a powerful form of community and political mobilization.

Dreams From My Father

Author: Barack Obama
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 9780307394125
Size: 38.13 MB
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In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. Pictured in lefthand photograph on cover: Habiba Akumu Hussein and Barack Obama, Sr. (President Obama's paternal grandmother and his father as a young boy). Pictured in righthand photograph on cover: Stanley Dunham and Ann Dunham (President Obama's maternal grandfather and his mother as a young girl). From the Trade Paperback edition.

Playing In The White

Author: Stephanie Li
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199398887
Size: 46.28 MB
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The postwar period witnessed an outpouring of white life novels--that is, texts by African American writers focused almost exclusively on white characters. Almost every major mid-twentieth century black writer, including Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ann Petry and James Baldwin, published one of these anomalous texts. Controversial since their publication in the 1940s and 50s, these novels have since fallen into obscurity given the challenges they pose to traditional conceptions of the African American literary canon. Playing in the White: Black Writers, White Subjects aims to bring these neglected novels back into conversations about the nature of African American literature and the unique expectations imposed upon black texts. In a series of nuanced readings, Li demonstrates how postwar black novelists were at the forefront of what is now commonly understood as whiteness studies. Novels like Hurston's Seraph on the Suwanee and Wright's Savage Holiday, once read as abdications of the political imperative of African American literature, are revisited with an awareness of how whiteness signifies in multivalent ways that critique America's abiding racial hierarchies. These novels explore how this particular racial construction is freighted with social power and narrative meaning. Whiteness repeatedly figures in these texts as a set of expectations that are nearly impossible to fulfill. By describing characters who continually fail at whiteness, white life novels ask readers to reassess what race means for all Americans. Along with its close analysis of key white life novels, Playing in the White: Black Writers, White Subjects also provides important historical context to understand how these texts represented the hopes and anxieties of a newly integrated nation.

The Black Presidency

Author: Michael Eric Dyson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544386426
Size: 11.65 MB
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A provocative and lively deep dive into the meaning of America's first black presidency, from “one of the most graceful and lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today” (Vanity Fair). Michael Eric Dyson explores the powerful, surprising way the politics of race have shaped Barack Obama’s identity and groundbreaking presidency. How has President Obama dealt publicly with race—as the national traumas of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott have played out during his tenure? What can we learn from Obama's major race speeches about his approach to racial conflict and the black criticism it provokes? Dyson explores whether Obama’s use of his own biracialism as a radiant symbol has been driven by the president’s desire to avoid a painful moral reckoning on race. And he sheds light on identity issues within the black power structure, telling the fascinating story of how Obama has spurned traditional black power brokers, significantly reducing their leverage. President Obama’s own voice—from an Oval Office interview granted to Dyson for this book—along with those of Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and Maxine Waters, among others, add unique depth to this profound tour of the nation’s first black presidency.

Barack Obama Is Brazilian

Author: Emanuelle K. F. Oliveira-Monte
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137583533
Size: 10.52 MB
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This book examines US President Barack Obama’s characterizations in the Brazilian media, with a specific focus on political cartoons and internet memes. Brazilians celebrate their country as a racial democracy; thus the US works as its nemesis. The rise of a black president to the office of the most prominent country in the global, political, and economic landscape led some analysts to postulate that the US was living in a post-racial era. President Obama’s election also had a tremendous impact on the imaginary of the African Diaspora, and this volume investigates how the election of the first black US president complicates Brazilians’ own racial discourses. By focusing on three events—Barack Obama's election in 2008, his visit to Brazil in March 2011, and the aftermath of the US espionage on the Brazilian government in 2013—Emanuelle K. F. Oliveira-Monte analyzes Barack Obama's shifting portrayals that confirm and challenge Brazilian racial conceptions projected upon his figure.

Articulate While Black

Author: H. Samy Alim
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199812969
Size: 14.92 MB
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In Articulate While Black, two renowned scholars of Black Language address language and racial politics in the U.S. through an insightful examination of President Barack Obama's language use-and America's response to it.