Hop on Pop showcases the work of a new generation of scholars—from fields such as media studies, literature, cinema, and cultural studies—whose writing has been informed by their ongoing involvement with popular culture and who draw insight from their lived experiences as critics, fans, and consumers. Proceeding from their deep political commitment to a new kind of populist grassroots politics, these writers challenge old modes of studying the everyday. As they rework traditional scholarly language, they search for new ways to write about our complex and compelling engagements with the politics and pleasures of popular culture and sketch a new and lively vocabulary for the field of cultural studies. The essays cover a wide and colorful array of subjects including pro wrestling, the computer games Myst and Doom, soap operas, baseball card collecting, the Tour de France, karaoke, lesbian desire in the Wizard of Oz, Internet fandom for the series Babylon 5, and the stress-management industry. Broader themes examined include the origins of popular culture, the aesthetics and politics of performance, and the social and cultural processes by which objects and practices are deemed tasteful or tasteless. The commitment that binds the contributors is to an emergent perspective in cultural studies, one that engages with popular culture as the culture that "sticks to the skin," that becomes so much a part of us that it becomes increasingly difficult to examine it from a distance. By refusing to deny or rationalize their own often contradictory identifications with popular culture, the contributors ensure that the volume as a whole reflects the immediacy and vibrancy of its objects of study. Hop on Pop will appeal to those engaged in the study of popular culture, American studies, cultural studies, cinema and visual studies, as well as to the general educated reader.
Contributors. John Bloom, Gerry Bloustein, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Diane Brooks, Peter Chvany, Elana Crane, Alexander Doty, Rob Drew, Stephen Duncombe, Nick Evans, Eric Freedman, Joy Fuqua, Tony Grajeda, Katherine Green, John Hartley, Heather Hendershot, Henry Jenkins, Eithne Johnson, Louis Kaplan, Maria Koundoura, Sharon Mazer, Anna McCarthy, Tara McPherson, Angela Ndalianis, Edward O’Neill, Catherine Palmer, Roberta Pearson, Elayne Rapping, Eric Schaefer, Jane Shattuc, Greg Smith, Ellen Strain, Matthew Tinkhom, William Uricchio, Amy Villarego, Robyn Warhol, Charles Weigl, Alan Wexelblat, Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Nabeel Zuberi
In the 1990s, American civil society got upended and reordered as many social, cultural, political, and economic institutions were changed forever. Pretty People examines a wide range of Hollywood icons who reflect how stardom in that decade was transformed as the nation itself was signaling significant changes to familiar ideas about gender, race, ethnicity, age, class, sexuality, and nationality.
Such actors as Denzel Washington, Andy Garcia, Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, and Antonio Banderas became bona fide movie stars who carried major films to amazing box-office success. Five of the decade’s top ten films were opened by three women—Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, and Whoopi Goldberg. “Chick flick” entered the lexicon as Leonardo DiCaprio became the “King of the World,” ushering in the cult of the mega celebrity. Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise defined screen masculinity as stark contrasts between “the regular guy” and “the intense guy” while the roles of Michael Douglas exemplified the endangered “Average White Male.” A fascinating composite portrait of 1990s Hollywood and its stars, this collection marks the changes to stardom and society at century’s end.
The South has long played a central role in America’s national imagination—the site of the trauma of slavery and of a vast nostalgia industry, alternatively the nation’s moral other and its moral center. Reconstructing Dixie explores how ideas about the South function within American culture. Narratives of the region often cohere around such tropes as southern hospitality and the southern (white) lady. Tara McPherson argues that these discursive constructions tend to conceal and disavow hard historical truths, particularly regarding race relations and the ways racial inequities underwrite southern femininity. Advocating conceptions of the South less mythologized and more tethered to complex realities, McPherson seeks to bring into view that which is repeatedly obscured—the South’s history of both racial injustice and cross-racial alliance.
Illuminating crucial connections between understandings of race, gender, and place on the one hand and narrative and images on the other, McPherson reads a number of representations of the South produced from the 1930s to the present. These are drawn from fiction, film, television, southern studies scholarship, popular journalism, music, tourist sites, the internet, and autobiography. She examines modes of affect or ways of "feeling southern" to reveal how these feelings, along with the narratives and images she discusses, sanction particular racial logics. A wide-ranging cultural studies critique, Reconstructing Dixie calls for vibrant new ways of thinking about the South and for a revamped and reinvigorated southern studies.
Reconstructing Dixie will appeal to scholars in American, southern, and cultural studies, and to those in African American, media, and women’s studies.