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Author:Brasell, Roger BruceYear: 2000
Dissertation Title:Imag(in)ing the American South in Documentary Film and Video
Abstract:Conceptually, the American South is typically approached through the paradigm of myth and the southerner through that of ethnicity. In contrast, this work approaches the South, not as an idea which is represented (although representation is vital to its existence), but as a discursive practice. Two historical moments intimately identified with the South in the popular imagination, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, reverberate in southern discourse today and inform the two sections of this dissertation. The first half explores the conceptualization of the South and the southerner, a discursive formation and a subject position, respectively, while the second half investigates one particular imag(in)ing of the American South, a bi-racial society. The South's attempted nationhood provides the basis for a negotiation of the South in light of theories of nationalism, while the failure of that attempt (which positions the South as a perversion of the national ideal) leads to an encounter with queer theory and post-colonial theory. The association of the South with bi-raciality as a result of the Civil Rights Movement prompts a pondering of the way in which the South and the Movement function in the theorization of race. This association functions to elide (1) miscegenation among the various "races" in the South and (2) the contemporary position of southeastern Indians within the region. The dissertation analyzes how southern discourse operates in a number of documentary films and videos. For example, the southern expatriate's situation of in-between-ness organizes the Southern Documentary Road Film, archival media-images often govern the history written by documentaries on the Civil Rights Movement, and bi-raciality actually structures the narrative flow of some documentaries. Because the South is conceptualized as a discursive formation, the dissertation also looks at mechanisms such as television advertisements and Civil Rights Movement heritage tourism attractions in relationship to the formation of southern subjectivity and the audiovisual writing of southern history, respectively. The popular alliance of the American South with the "burden" of history haunts the dissertation.
Document: Full Text PDF and Hard Copy can be accessed through Proquest Doc ID 728343621
Non-NYU: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database
Publication Number: AAT 9985232
Pages: 387
Advisor: Straayer, Chris
Keywords:Documentary Film; American South; Race and Representation