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Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film
Amid immigrant narratives of assimilation, Indian Accents focuses on the representations and stereotypes of South Asian characters in American film and television. Exploring key examples in popular culture ranging from Peter Sellers' portrayal of Hrundi Bakshi in the 1968 film The Party to contemporary representations such as Apu from The Simpsons and characters in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Shilpa S. Dave develops the ideas of "accent," "brownface," and "brown voice" as new ways to explore the racialization of South Asians beyond just visual appearance. Dave relates these examples to earlier scholarship on blackface, race, and performance to show how "accents" are a means of representing racial difference, national origin, and belonging, as well as distinctions of class and privilege. While focusing on racial impersonations in mainstream film and television, Indian Accents also amplifies the work of South Asian American actors who push back against brown voice performances, showing how strategic use of accent can expand and challenge such narrow stereotypes.
A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers
The fan magazine has often been viewed simply as a publicity tool, a fluffy exercise in self-promotion by the film industry. But as an arbiter of good and bad taste, as a source of knowledge, and as a gateway to the fabled land of Hollywood and its stars, the American fan magazine represents a fascinating and indispensable chapter in journalism and popular culture. Anthony Slide's Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine provides the definitive history of this artifact. It charts the development of the fan magazine from the golden years when Motion Picture Story Magazine and Photoplay first appeared in 1911 to its decline into provocative headlines and titillation in the 1960s and afterward. Slide discusses how the fan magazines dealt with gossip and innuendo, and how they handled nationwide issues such as Hollywood scandals of the 1920s, World War II, the blacklist, and the death of President Kennedy. Fan magazines thrived in the twentieth century, and they presented the history of an industry in a unique, sometimes accurate, and always entertaining style. This major cultural history includes a new interview with 1970s media personality Rona Barrett, as well as original commentary from a dozen editors and writers. Also included is a chapter on contributions to the fan magazines from well-known writers such as Theodore Dreiser and e. e. cummings. The book is enhanced by an appendix documenting some 268 American fan magazines and includes detailed publication histories.
A University President's Perspective
After decades of domination on campus, college sports' supremacy has begun to weaken. "Enough, already!" detractors cry. College is about learning, not chasing a ball around to the whir of TV cameras. In Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University James Duderstadt agrees, taking the view that the increased commercialization of intercollegiate athletics endangers our universities and their primary goal, academics. Calling it a "corrosive example of entertainment culture" during an interview with ESPN's Bob Ley, Duderstadt suggested that college basketball, for example, "imposes on the university an alien set of values, a culture that really is not conducive to the educational mission of university." Duderstadt is part of a growing controversy. Recently, as reported in The New York Times, an alliance between university professors and college boards of trustees formed in reaction to the growth of college sports; it's the first organization with enough clout to challenge the culture of big-time university athletics. This book is certainly part of that challenge, and is sure to influence this debate today and in the years to come. James J. Duderstadt is President Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering, University of Michigan.
Liberty vs. Authority in American Film and TV
Popular culture often champions freedom as the fundamentally American way of life and celebrates the virtues of independence and self-reliance. But film and television have also explored the tension between freedom and other core values, such as order and political stability. What may look like healthy, productive, and creative freedom from one point of view may look like chaos, anarchy, and a source of destructive conflict from another. Film and television continually pose the question: Can Americans deal with their problems on their own, or must they rely on political elites to manage their lives?
In this groundbreaking work, Paul A. Cantor explores the ways in which television shows such as Star Trek, The X-Files, South Park, and Deadwood and films such as The Aviator and Mars Attacks! have portrayed both top-down and bottom-up models of order. Drawing on the works of John Locke, Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, and other proponents of freedom, Cantor contrasts the classical liberal vision of America -- particularly its emphasis on the virtues of spontaneous order -- with the Marxist understanding of the "culture industry" and the Hobbesian model of absolute state control.
The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture concludes with a discussion of the impact of 9/11 on film and television, and the new anxieties emerging in contemporary alien-invasion narratives: the fear of a global technocracy that seeks to destroy the nuclear family, religious faith, local government, and other traditional bulwarks against the absolute state.
Remaking the Past in Contemporary Culture
Jane Austen and Co. explores the ways in which classical novels—particularly, but not exclusively, those of Jane Austen—have been transformed into artifacts of contemporary popular culture. Examining recent films, television shows, Internet sites, and even historical tours, the book turns from the question of Austen’s contemporary appeal to a broader consideration of other late-twentieth-century remakes, including Dangerous Liaisons, Dracula, Lolita, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Taken together, the essays in Jane Austen and Co. offer a wide-ranging model for understanding how all of these texts—visual, literary, touristic, British, American, French—reshape the past in the new fashions, styles, media, and desires of the present.
American Celebrity and Jewish Identity—Sandy Koufax, Lenny Bruce, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand
A lively look at four major Jewish celebrities of early 1960s America, who together made their mark on both American culture and Jewish identity Sandy Koufax, Lenny Bruce, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand first came to public attention in the early 1960s, a period Kaufman identifies as historically ripe for American Jews to reexamine their (Jewish) identities. All four achieved extraordinary success in their respective fields and became celebrities within an American context, while at the same time they were clearly identifiable as Jews—although they were perceived to be Jewish in very different ways. Kaufman investigates these celebrities’ rise to fame, the specific brand of Jewishness each one represented, and how their fans and the public at large perceived their ethnic identity as Jews. Situating Koufax, Bruce, Dylan, and Streisand within the larger history of American Jewish celebrity, Kaufman argues that the four early 1960s figures represent a turning point between celebrity Jews of the past—such as Hank Greenberg, Groucho Marx, Irving Berlin, and Fanny Brice—and those of the present, such as Jon Stewart, Matisyahu, and Natalie Portman. Providing an entry into Jewish celebrity studies, this lively narrative explores the intersection between popular celebrity and Jewish identity and thereby examines the cultural construction of Jewishness in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Tradition and Change in a Liberal Society
The movement from tradition to modernity engulfed all of the Jewish communities in the West, but hitherto historians have concentrated on the intellectual revolution in Germany by Moses Mendelssohn in the second half of the eighteenth century as the decisive event in the origins of Jewish modernity. In The Jews of Georgian England, Todd M. Endelman challenges the Germanocentric orientation of the bulk of modern Jewish historiography and argues that the modernization of European Jewry encompassed far more than an intellectual revolution. His study recounts the rise of the Anglo-Jewish elite--great commercial and financial magnates such as the Goldsmids, the Franks, Samson Gideon, and Joseph Salvador--who rapidly adopted the gentlemanly style of life of the landed class and adjusted their religious practices to harmonize with the standards of upper-class Englishmen. Similarly, the Jewish poor--peddlers, hawkers, and old-clothes men--took easily to many patterns of lower-class life, including crime, street violence, sexual promiscuity, and coarse entertainment. An impressive marshaling of fact and analysis, The Jews of Georgian England serves to illuminate a significant aspect of the Jewish passage to modernity. "Contributes to English as well as Jewish history. . . . Every reader will learn something new about the statistics, setting or mores of Jewish life in the eighteenth century. . . ." --American Historical Review Todd M. Endelman is William Haber Professor of Modern Jewish History, University of Michigan. He is also the author of Comparing Jewish Societies, Jewish Apostasy in the Modern World, and Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History, 1656-1945.
Throughout his career, Johnny Cash has been depicted -- and has depicted himself -- as a walking contradiction: social protestor and establishment patriot, drugged wildman and devout Christian crusader, rebel outlaw hillbilly thug and elder statesman. Leigh H. Edwards explores the allure of this paradoxical image and its cultural significance. She argues that Cash embodies irresolvable contradictions of American identity that reflect foundational issues in the American experience, such as the tensions between freedom and patriotism, individual rights and nationalism, the sacred and the profane. She illustrates how this model of ambivalence is a vital paradigm for American popular music, and for American identity in general. Making use of sources such as Cash's autobiographies, lyrics, music, liner notes, and interviews, Edwards pays equal attention to depictions of Cash by others, such as Vivian Cash's publication of his letters to her, documentaries and music journalism about him, Walk the Line, and fan club materials found in the archives at the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, to create a full portrait of Cash and his significance as a cultural icon.
Jokes and Targets takes up an appealing and entertaining topic -- the social and historical origins of jokes about familiar targets such as rustics, Jewish spouses, used car salesmen, and dumb blondes. Christie Davies explains why political jokes flourished in the Soviet Union, why Europeans tell jokes about American lawyers but not about their own lawyers, and why sex jokes often refer to France rather than to other countries. One of the world's leading experts on the study of humor, Davies provides a wide-ranging and detailed study of the jokes that make up an important part of everyday conversation.
Vol. 4, no. 2 (2004) through current issue
The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies is the official publication of the Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies and regularly publishes articles and reviews on cultural history from the late fifteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. It provides a venue for exchange between scholars in such traditionally diverse fields as sociology and anthropology; history, economics, and political science; philology and literary criticism; art history and iconology; and African, American, European, and Asian studies. By extending its boundaries in the direction of cultural theory, gender studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, and postmodernism, JEMCS challenges the boundaries that separate such traditional scholarly disciplines while also bringing those disciplines into contact with each other