In this Book

In American Pietàs, Ruby C. Tapia reveals how visual representations of racialized motherhood shape and reflect national citizenship. By means of a sustained engagement with Roland Barthes’s suturing of race, death, and the maternal in Camera Lucida, Tapia contends that the contradictory essence of the photograph is both as a signifier of death and a guarantor of resurrection.

Tapia explores the implications of this argument for racialized productions of death and the maternal in the context of specific cultural moments: the commemoration of Princess Diana in U.S. magazines; the intertext of Toni Morrison’s and Hollywood’s Beloved; the social and cultural death in teen pregnancy, imaged and regulated in California’s Partnership for Responsible Parenting campaigns; and popular constructions of the “Widows of 9/11” in print and televisual journalism.

Taken together, these various visual media texts function in American Pietàs as cultural artifacts and as visual nodes in a larger network of racialized productions of maternal bodies in contexts of national death and remembering. To engage this network is to ask how and toward what end the racial project of the nation imbues some maternal bodies with resurrecting power and leaves others for dead. In the spaces between these different maternities, says Tapia, U.S. citizen-subjects are born—and reborn.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. 2-5
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction: Race, Death, and the Maternal in American Visual Culture
  2. pp. 1-28
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. Maternal Visions, Racial Seeing: Theories of the Photographic in Barthes’s Camera Lucida
  2. pp. 29-42
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Commemorating Whiteness: The Ghost of Diana in the U.S. Popular Press
  2. pp. 43-66
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. Beloved Therapies: Oprah and the Hollywood Production of Maternal Horror
  2. pp. 67-90
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. Prodigal (Non)Citizens: Teen Pregnancy and Public Health at the Border
  2. pp. 91-108
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. Breeding Patriotism: The Widows of 9/11 and the Prime-time Wombs of National Memory
  2. pp. 109-130
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Conclusion: Vivid Defacements
  2. pp. 131-152
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 153-154
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 155-192
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 193-202
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

Print ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.