Configuring America (Book)
Iconic Figures, Visuality, and the American Identity
Elvis Presley. Marilyn Monroe. LeBron James. Like many cultural figures who hail from the United States, they are known all over the world. ConFiguring America provides a series of incisive essays that analyse a wide range of such figures: those who embody America’s tendency to produce celebrities and iconic personalities with global reach.
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ConFiguring America brings together a series of incisive essays that analyse a wide range of such figures: those who embody America’s tendency to produce celebrities and iconic personalities with global reach. Drawing on theoretical insights from a variety of fields – including cultural iconography, visual culture, star studies and history – a diverse group of international contributors sheds light on how these figures and their media representations construct America’s image beyond its borders. An important addition to an expanding field, ConFiguring America will deepen readers’ understanding of celebrity, iconography and their worldwide implications.
Klaus Rieser is associate professor of American Studies at the University of Graz, where Michael Fuchs teaches American literature and Michael Phillips is a lecturer in English.
Introduction: Theorizing Iconic Figures
PART I: Icons and the Struggle over Meaning
Chapter 1: ‘Just Like You’, But Not Like Us: Staging National Belonging, Multiracial Femininity, and Collective Memory in the American Girl Family
Chapter 2: Behind the Brown Mask: Joe Louis’ Face and the Construction of Racial Mythologies
Marcy S. Sacks
Chapter 3: LeBron James and the Web of Discourse: Iconic Sports Figures and Semantic Struggles
Michael Fuchs & Michael Phillips
PART II: Appropriating Iconic Figures
Chapter 4: O Superman: The Many Faces of the Man of Steel
Chapter 5: Thirty Are Better Than One: Marilyn Monroe and the Performance of Americanness
Chapter 6: Queering Cowboys, Queering Futurity: The Re/Construction of American Cowboy Masculinity
Chapter 7: Iconizing Radical Change: How Gary Cooper Led Poland to Freedom