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Representing Race: Re/framing Black Lives and Restoring Grievability

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Title: Representing Race: Re/framing Black Lives and Restoring Grievability
Author: Kiely, Victoria
Department: School of English and Theatre Studies
Program: English
Advisor: Ferguson, Jade
Abstract: This thesis examines four highly publicized instances of anti-Black violence alongside a corresponding artistic or literary representation of the victim. Chapter one studies the photographic documentation of Emmett Till’s lynching from 1955 before turning to Dana Schutz’s painting “Open Casket” (2016). Chapter two considers the videotaped beating of Rodney King from 1991 and Anna Deavere Smith’s theatrical piece 'Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992' (1993). Chapter three contextualizes the Black Lives Matter movement and analyzes the impact of Trayvon Martin’s and Michael Brown’s deaths through Patricia Smith’s poetry collection 'Incendiary Art' (2017). Throughout these three chapters, I argue that Black lives are hegemonically framed as ungrievable and disposable through the circulation of anti-Black rhetoric and imagery. However, the hegemony of anti-Blackness can be resisted through artistic and literary re-presentations that frame their subjects as worthy of “protecting, sheltering, living, mourning,” ultimately asserting the value of Black life (Butler 53).
Date: 2021-01
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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Attribution 4.0 International Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 4.0 International