By Janell Hobson
Analyzes how race and gender intersect within the rhetoric and imagery of pop culture within the early twenty-first century.
In Body as Evidence, Janell Hobson demanding situations postmodernist dismissals of identification politics and the delusional trust that the Millennial period displays a “postracial” and “postfeminist” international. Hobson issues to diversified examples in cultural narratives, which recommend that new media depend upon outdated ideologies within the shaping of the physique politic.
Body as Evidence creates a theoretical mash-up of prose and poetry to light up the ways in which our bodies nonetheless topic as websites of political, cultural, and electronic resistance. It does so by means of analyzing a number of representations, from well known exhibits like American Idol to public figures just like the Obamas to high-profile situations just like the Duke lacrosse rape scandal to present developments in electronic tradition. Hobson’s learn additionally discusses the ladies who've fueled and retooled twenty-first-century media to make experience of antiracist and feminist resistance. Her discussions contain the electronica of Janelle Monáe, M.I.A., and Björk; the feminist movie odysseys of Wanuri Kahiu and Neloufer Pazira; and the embodied resistance came upon easily in elevating one’s voice in tune, making a weblog, donning a veil, stripping bare, or planting a tree. Spinning wisdom out of this knowledge overload, Hobson bargains a world black feminist meditation on how bodies mobilize, destabilize, and decolonize the meanings of race and gender in an more and more digitized and globalized world.
“By racializing the research of know-how, Janell Hobson brings to the leading edge a few vitally important concerns concerning the electronic divide. there's a tendency in a few parts of academia to wholeheartedly have fun new applied sciences with no giving sufficient notion to how category, gender, race, and geographical divisions have an effect on either the construction and intake ends of the chain.” — Gail Dines, coeditor of Gender, Race, and sophistication in Media: A serious Reader, 3rd variation
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Additional info for Body as Evidence: Mediating Race, Globalizing Gender
How, then, do black women continue in this tradition of resistance? Can their subaltern voices of protest be heard, or do their bodies merely function as vessels, coded in culturally specific ways in which black women’s singing already connotes suffering and, thus, constitutes an appropriate instrument to voice political and social discontent? In his essay, “Many Thousands Gone,” James Baldwin argues the following: Pop Goes Democracy 29 It is only in his music, which Americans are able to admire because a protective sentimentality limits their understanding of it, that the Negro in America has been able to tell his story.
The first white male winner, the gray‑haired and bombastic performer Taylor Hicks during Season 5, was one who appropriated soul singing, hence relying on a voting fan base called the “Soul Patrol,” while the first 36 Body as Evidence male winner, African American soul singer Ruben Studdard, recalled an R&B stylization reminiscent of Luther Vandross that allowed him to win Season 2. However, Studdard’s image as a heavyset man perhaps hindered his mainstream success, while the white male runner‑up, Clay Aiken, enjoyed platinum sales and widespread popularity.
What do such musical expressions and reception reveal about a “national” sound? It would seem that black vocality—both female and male voices, but especially and iconically portrayed in the black female vocalist—provides the “rebellious,” “suffering,” and “survivor” spirit that America proudly heralds as a national persona. However, this spirit is also captured in other “white” musical genres—rock, heavy metal, and country music. Interestingly, soul singing and country music singing are often racially pitted as flip sides of the same coin, perhaps because they both share roots in the blues but also because they represent distinct racially segregated American groups (the “soul” black audience versus the “country” white audience).