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David Bleich sees the human body, its affective life, social life, and political functions as belonging to the study of language. In The Materiality of Language, Bleich addresses the need to end centuries of limiting access to language and its many contexts of use. To recognize language as material and treat it as such, argues Bleich, is to remove restrictions to language access due to historic patterns of academic censorship and unfair gender practices. Language is understood as a key path in the formation of all social and political relations, and becomes available for study by all speakers, who may regulate it, change it, and make it flexible like other material things.
In Bodies That Matter, Judith Butler further develops her distinctive theory of gender by examining the workings of power at the most "material" dimensions of sex and sexuality. Deepening the inquiries she began in Gender Trouble, Butler offers an original reformulation of the materiality of bodies, examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the "matter" of bodies, sex, and gender. Butler argues that power operates to constrain "sex" from the start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She offers a clarification of the notion of "performativity" introduced in Gender Trouble and explores the meaning of a citational politics. The text includes readings of Plato, Irigaray, Lacan, and Freud on the formation of materiality and bodily boundaries; "Paris is Burning," Nella Larsen's "Passing," and short stories by Willa Cather; along with a reconsideration of "performativity" and politics in feminist, queer, and radical democratic theory.
This book suggests that modern cultural and critical institutions have persistently associated questions of aesthetics and politics with literature, theory, technics, and Romanticism. Its first section examines aesthetic nationalism and the figure of the body, focusing on writings by Benedict Anderson, J. G. Fichte, and Matthew Arnold, and arguing that uneasy acts of aestheticization (of media technology) and abjection (of the maternal body) undergird the production of the national body as “imagined community.” Subsequent chapters on Paul de Man, Friedrich Schlegel, and Percy Shelley explore the career of the gendered body in the aesthetic tradition and the relationship among aesthetics, technics, politics, and figurative language. The author accounts for the hysteria that has characterized media representations of theory, explains why and how Romanticism has remained a locus of extravagant political hopes and anxieties, and, in a sequence of close readings, uncovers the “anaesthetic” condition of possibility of the politics of aesthetics.
In some parts of South Africa, more than one in three people are HIV positive. Love in the Time of AIDS explores transformations in notions of gender and intimacy to try to understand the roots of this virulent epidemic. By living in an informal settlement and collecting love letters, cell phone text messages, oral histories, and archival materials, Mark Hunter details the everyday social inequalities that have resulted in untimely deaths. Hunter shows how first apartheid and then chronic unemployment have become entangled with ideas about femininity, masculinity, love, and sex and have created an economy of exchange that perpetuates the transmission of HIV/AIDS. This sobering ethnography challenges conventional understandings of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
The purpose of this essay collection is to recover color's complex and sometimes morally troubling past. By emphasising color's materiality, and how it was produced, exchanged and used, contributors draw attention to the disjuncture between the beauty of color and the blood, sweat, and tears that went into its production, circulation and application as well as to the complicated and varied social meanings attached to color within specific historical and social contexts.
In this 7th edition of his award-winning Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, John Storey has extensively revised the text throughout. As before, the book presents a clear and critical survey of competing theories of and various approaches to popular culture. Its breadth and theoretical unity, exemplified through popular culture, means that it can be flexibly and relevantly applied across a number of disciplines. Also retaining the accessible approach of previous editions, and using appropriate examples from the texts and practices of popular culture, this new edition remains a key introduction to the area. New to this edition: • Extensively revised, rewritten and updated • Improved and expanded content throughout • A new section on ‘The Contextuality of Meaning’ that explores how context impacts meaning • A brand new chapter on ‘The Materiality of Popular Culture’ that examines popular culture as material culture • Extensive updates to the companion website at www.routledge.com/cw/storey, which includes practice questions, extension activities and interactive quizzes, links to relevant websites and further reading, and a glossary of key terms. The new edition remains essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of cultural studies, media studies, communication studies, the sociology of culture, popular culture and other related subjects.
Voice in Motion explores the human voice as a literary, historical, and performative motif in early modern English drama and culture, where the voice was frequently represented as struggling, even failing, to work. In a compelling and original argument, Gina Bloom demonstrates that early modern ideas about the efficacy of spoken communication spring from an understanding of the voice's materiality. Voices can be cracked by the bodies that produce them, scattered by winds when transmitted as breath through their acoustic environment, stopped by clogged ears meant to receive them, and displaced by echoic resonances. The early modern theater underscored the voice's volatility through the use of pubescent boy actors, whose vocal organs were especially vulnerable to malfunction. Reading plays by Shakespeare, Marston, and their contemporaries alongside a wide range of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century texts—including anatomy books, acoustic science treatises, Protestant sermons, music manuals, and even translations of Ovid—Bloom maintains that cultural representations and theatrical enactments of the voice as "unruly matter" undermined early modern hierarchies of gender. The uncontrollable physical voice creates anxiety for men, whose masculinity is contingent on their capacity to discipline their voices and the voices of their subordinates. By contrast, for women the voice is most effective not when it is owned and mastered but when it is relinquished to the environment beyond. There, the voice's fragile material form assumes its full destabilizing potential and becomes a surprising source of female power. Indeed, Bloom goes further to query the boundary between the production and reception of vocal sound, suggesting provocatively that it is through active listening, not just speaking, that women on and off the stage reshape their world. Bringing together performance theory, theater history, theories of embodiment, and sound studies, this book makes a significant contribution to gender studies and feminist theory by challenging traditional conceptions of the links among voice, body, and self.

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