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Stories of Oprah is a collection of essays that explores Oprah Winfrey's broad reach as an industry and media brand. Contributors analyze a number of topics touching on the ways in which her cultural output shapes contemporary America. The volume examines how Oprah has fashioned a persona--which emphasizes her rural, poverty-stricken roots over other factors--that helps her popularize her unique blend of New Age spirituality, neoliberal politics, and African American preaching. She packages New Age spirituality through the rhetoric of race, gender, and the black preacher tradition. Oprah's Book Club has reshaped literary publishing, bringing Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, and Cormac McCarthy to a broad number of readers. Her brand extends worldwide through the internet. In this volume writers analyze her positions on teen sexuality, gender, race, and politics, and the impact of Winfrey's confessional mode on mainstream television news.
The book also addresses twenty-first-century issues, showing Winfrey's influence on how Americans and Europeans responded to 9/11, and how Harpo Productions created a deracialized film adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God in 2005. Throughout, Stories of Oprah challenges readers to reflect on how Oprah the Industry has reshaped America's culture, history, and politics.
Trystan T. Cotten is assistant professor of African American studies at California State University, Stanislaus. With Christa Davis Acampora, Cotten edited Cultural Sites of Critical Insight: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and African American and Native Women's Writings and (Un)Making Race, Re-making Soul: Transforming Aesthetics and the Practice of Freedom. Kimberly Springer is senior lecturer in American studies at King's College London. She is the author of Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980 and editor of Still Lifting, Still Climbing: Contemporary African American Women's Activism.