Scripting the Black Masculine Body: Identity, Discourse, and Racial Politics in Popular Media

SUNY Press
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Scripting the Black Masculine Body traces the origins of Black body politics in the United States and its contemporary manifestations in popular cultural productions. From early blackface cinema through contemporary portrayals of the Black body in hip-hop music and film, Ronald L. Jackson II examines how African American identities have been socially constructed, constituted, and publicly understood, and argues that popular music artists and film producers often are complicit with Black body stereotypes. Jackson offers a communicative perspective on body politics through a blend of social scientific and humanities approaches and offers possibilities for the liberation of the Black body from its current ineffectual and paralyzing representations.
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About the author

Ronald L. Jackson II is Professor of Media and Cinema Studies, as well as Professor and Head of African American Studies, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the editor of African American Communication and Identities: Essential Readings.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2006
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Pages
189
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ISBN
9780791482377
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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What communicative experiences are particular to African Americans? How do many African Americans define themselves culturally? How do they perceive intracultural and intercultural communication? These questions are answered in this second edition of African American Communication: Exploring Identity and Culture. Informing multiple audiences interested in African American culture, from cultural researchers and practitioners to educators, policymakers, and community leaders, this innovative and invaluable resource examines the richness and depth of African American communication norms and patterns, as well as African American identities. Positive and healthy African American identities are centrally positioned throughout the book.

Applying the cultural contracts theory and the communication theory of identity, authors Michael L. Hecht, Ronald L. Jackson II, and Sidney A. Ribeau explore relationships among African Americans, as well as between African Americans and European Americans, while highlighting the need for sensitivity to issues of power when discussing race, ethnicity, and culture. This wide-ranging volume provides an extensive review of the relevant literature and offers recommendations designed to encourage understanding of African American communication in a context extending beyond Eurocentric paradigms.

Considering African American identity with a communicative, linguistic, and relational focus, this volume:
*Defines African American identities by describing related terms, such as self, self-concept, personhood and identity;
*Explores Afrocentricity and African American discourse;
*Examines the status of African Americans in the United States using census statistics and national studies from other research agencies;
*Considers identity negotiation and competence; and
*Features a full chapter on African American relationships, including gendered, familial, intimate, adolescent and adult, homosexual, friendship, communal, and workplace relationships.

African American Communication: Exploring Identity and Culture begins an important dialogue in the communication discipline, intercultural studies, African American studies and other fields concerned with the centrality of culture and communication as it relates to human behavior. It is intended for advanced students and scholars in intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, communication theory, African American/Black studies, social psychology, sociolinguistics, education, and family studies.
A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.

In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.

Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.

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