Test Your Structuralist Analytical Methods

Can you determine whether Professor Burton is using Structuralist methodology?

Professor Joan Burton
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

“Creating Whiteness: An Analysis of Racial Representations in Popular Culture”

Abstract:  Studies of the “creation of whiteness” as a modern racial identity in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries provide the framework for my analysis of racial stereotypes in popular culture.  I focus on the period when a mass consumer culture emerged, accompanied by technological changes that allowed visual images to be cheaply produced and widely distributed.  Whites across the country became increasingly familiar with stereotyped images of blacks in minstrel shows, at world’s fairs and amusement parks, and by the 1900s, in motion pictures and widespread advertising of brand name products.  The growth of mass popular culture and improved technology made these cultural productions profitable and helped promote a more self-consciously white identity.  During this era postcards were a popular form of daily communication among men and women of all classes, genders, and regions.  I argue that the racial images found on the postcards that were so widely distributed across the United States from the 1890s to the 1930s were part of the process by which whites constructed a whiteness grounded in distorted perceptions of black identity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at 4:30 p.m.

Van Meter B10

Can you explain the assignment of privilege and privation to a set of non-natural binary oppositions?

Emily Dickinson, XVI.

"Sir Penny"

Cinderella and Her Sisters  (Note that these summaries of multiple variants of the same basic tale type would lead you toward a Levy-Straus-type, Structural Anthropology reading.)

The "Cartoon Laws of Physics."

"Bambi Meets Godzilla"

Oedipus the King in License Plates (courtesy of Camden Kimura)

"'Nether in bowre ne in halle': Reconciling Public and Private in The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle"