Murder, the Media, and the Politics of Public Feelings: Remembering Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. [NOOK Book]

Overview

In 1998, the horrific murders of Matthew Shepard -- a gay man living in
Laramie, Wyoming -- and James Byrd Jr. -- an African American man dragged to his
death in Jasper, Texas -- provoked a passionate public outrage. The intense media
coverage of the murders made moments of violence based in racism and ...

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Murder, the Media, and the Politics of Public Feelings: Remembering Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

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Overview

In 1998, the horrific murders of Matthew Shepard -- a gay man living in
Laramie, Wyoming -- and James Byrd Jr. -- an African American man dragged to his
death in Jasper, Texas -- provoked a passionate public outrage. The intense media
coverage of the murders made moments of violence based in racism and homophobia
highly visible and which eventually led to the passage of The Matthew Shepard and
James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. The role the media played in
cultivating, shaping, and directing the collective emotional response toward these
crimes is the subject of this gripping new book by Jennifer Petersen. Tracing the
emotional exchange from news stories to the creation of law, Petersen calls for an
approach to media and democratic politics that takes into account the role of affect
in the political and legal life of the nation.

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Editorial Reviews

John D. Peters

"[Petersen] breaks new ground by showing how national and local media coverage interact and how popular emotion and public legislation work together." —John D. Peters, author of Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition

Beth Loffreda

"...engrossing and expertly-argued reading. Petersen gracefully blends theoretical investigations with narrative recountings of the two cases." —Beth Loffreda, author of Losing Matt Shepard: Live and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder

Great Plains Quarterly

"Petersen offers an impressive reading of media discourses illustrating the value of public feelings and how they can become animating forces in the production of civic action." —Great Plains Quarterly

JHISTORY H-Net

"Petersen grounds her study in a wide array of literature about topics including the ethics of mediating suffering, masculinity, gender, class, melodrama, liberalism, the public sphere, imagined communities, reason, and emotion.... Graduate students interested in cultural studies, gender and queer studies, and/or advocacy may find Petersen's book useful." —JHISTORY H-Net

From the Publisher
"Petersen grounds her study in a wide array of literature about topics including the ethics of mediating suffering, masculinity, gender, class, melodrama, liberalism, the public sphere, imagined communities, reason, and emotion.... Graduate students interested in cultural studies, gender and queer studies, and/or advocacy may find Petersen's book useful." —JHISTORY H-Net

"Petersen makes use of an intriguing thesis and presents an insightful source for journalism and broadcasting students." —Library Journal

"...engrossing and expertly-argued reading. Petersen gracefully blends theoretical investigations with narrative recountings of the two cases." —Beth Loffreda, author of Losing Matt Shepard: Live and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder

"[Petersen] breaks new ground by showing how national and local media coverage interact and how popular emotion and public legislation work together." —John D. Peters, author of Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition

"Petersen offers an impressive reading of media discourses illustrating the value of public feelings and how they can become animating forces in the production of civic action." —Great Plains Quarterly

Library Journal
Petersen (media studies, Univ. of Virginia) analyzes the media handling of the murders of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, WY, and James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, TX, and the hate-crime legislation that was passed as a result. She has done extensive research and conducted interviews with some of the key players to trace the trajectory of what eventually culminated in the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Also discussed is how the media uses our emotions to personalize stories and how regionalism can be used to reinforce stereotypes. Taking a scholarly approach, Petersen makes a case that media allows strangers from all over the United States to come together to "form publics" (large groups of people united by a common interest). She argues that the common interest in these murders helped affect "political-legal changes." VERDICT Petersen makes use of an intriguing thesis and presents an insightful source for journalism and broadcasting students.—Barb Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253005212
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 222
  • File size: 384 KB

Meet the Author

Jennifer Petersen is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the
University of Virginia. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Media,
Culture & Society and Critical Studies in Media Communication.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Media, Emotion, and the Public Sphere1. Mourning Matthew
Shepard: Grief, Shame, and the Public Sphere2. "Hate is Not a Laramie
Value": Translating Feelings into Law3. The Murder of James Byrd Jr.: The
Political Pedagogy of Melodrama4. The Visibility of Suffering, Injustice, and the
LawConclusion: Feeling in the Public SphereAppendix: Text and Interview
SelectionBibliographyIndex

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