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Blackness Is Burning

Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition

TreaAndrea M. Russworm (author)

ISBN: 9780814340516

Publication Date: Oct 2016

Format: Paperback

Critiques the politics of recognition and representation in popular culture as attempts to "humanize" black identity through stories of suffering and triumph or tales of destruction and survival.
£33.50

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Blackness Is Burning is one of the first books to examine the ways race and psychological rhetoric collided in the public and popular culture of the civil rights era. In analyzing a range of media forms, including Sidney Poitier's popular films, black mother and daughter family melodramas, Bill Cosby's comedy routine and cartoon Fat Albert, pulpy black pimp narratives, and several aspects of post– civil rights black/American culture, TreaAndrea M. Russworm identifies and problematizes the many ways in which psychoanalytic culture has functioned as a governing racial ideology that is built around a flawed understanding of trying to "recognize" the racial other as human.

The main argument of Blackness Is Burning is that humanizing, or trying to represent in narrative and popular culture that #BlackLivesMatter, has always been a barely attainable and impossible to sustain cultural agenda. But Blackness Is Burning makes two additional interdisciplinary interventions: the book makes a historical and temporal intervention because Russworm is committed to showing the relationship between civil rights discourses on theories of recognition and how we continue to represent and talk about race today. The book also makes a formal intervention since the chapter-length case studies take seemingly banal popular forms seriously. She argues that the popular forms and disreputable works are integral parts of our shared cultural knowledge.

Blackness Is Burning's interdisciplinary reach is what makes it a vital component to nearly any scholar's library, particularly those with an interest in African American popular culture, film and media studies, or psychoanalytic theory.
Illustrations 32 illustrations
Pages 320
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Oct 2016
Publisher Wayne State University Press
Series Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series
Subject/s Popular culture   Black & Asian studies   Civil rights & citizenship  
TreaAndrea M. Russworm is an assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she teaches interdisciplinary classes on literature, popular culture, and new media. She is a co-editor of From Madea to Media Mogul:Theorizing Tyler Perry and her work has appeared in Game On, Hollywood! and Watching While Black. She is currently co-editing a new collection on identity and representation in video games.

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