Date of Award

Summer 5-12-2023

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Communication

Committee Chair

Cheryl Jenkins

Committee Chair School

Communication

Committee Member 2

Laura Stengrim

Committee Member 2 School

Communication

Committee Member 3

Fei Xue

Committee Member 3 School

Communication

Committee Member 4

Laura Alberti

Committee Member 4 School

Communication

Committee Member 5

Christopher Campbell

Committee Member 5 School

Communication

Abstract

My project looks at post-racism as ideology. Through my chosen text – the Netflix streamed television series called Dear White People – I examine the ways in which post-racism is persists through representational abstractions which reformulate race as largely sets of interpersonal and intercultural, person-to-person social problems rather that a more general condition rooted in institutional or structural social, political and economic arrangements which organize society and produce its cultural dispensation.

To do this, I applied some of Stuart Hall’s ideas – on identity, ideology and commodification – and Bonilla-Silva – specifically in the area of obfuscations or abstractions of the institutional logics of race and racialization – to Dear White People. Firstly, I review the text denotatively to uncover its main oppositional frames against the racial misrepresentation of Black people and of Blackness: I find the main oppositional frames to be what I call “Embodiments”. And then, I conduct a connotative analysis of how, despite the main oppositional frames, post-racism representations persist within the text.

In sum, I argue that post-racism persists through the cultural precedence about racial representation set in ‘90s as well as a continuation of text mediated conversations about race whose terms are not set or established by and for Black people, atop the institutional and commercial incentives of U.S. mass media.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-0896-2322

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