Suffering Will Not Be Televised, The: African American Women and Sentimental Political Storytelling

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Overview

Why do some stories of lost white girls garner national media headlines while others missing remain unknown to the general public? What makes a suffering person legible as a legitimate victim in U.S. culture? In the Suffering will not be Televised, Rebecca Wanzo uses African American women as a case study to explore the conventions of sentimental political storytelling-the cultural practices that make the suffering of some legible while obscuring other kinds of suffering. Through an examination of memoirs, news media, film, and television, Wanzo's analysis reveals historical and contemporary tendencies to conflate differences between different kinds of suffering, to construct suffering hierarchies, and to treat wounds inflicted by the state as best healed through therapeutic, interpersonal interaction. Wanzo's focus on situations as varied as disparities in child abduction coverage, pain experienced in medical settings, sexual violence, and treatment of prisoners of war illuminates how widely and deeply these conventions function within U.S. culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781438428833
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Wanzo is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and English at the Ohio State University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Saving Shoshana 1

1 Beyond Uncle Tom: A Genealogy of Sentimental Political Storytelling 15

2 Incidents in the Life of a (Volunteer) Slave Girl: The Specter of Slavery and Escapes from History 39

3 The Reading Cure: Oprah Winfrey, Toni Morrison, and Sentimental Identification 79

4 Salvation in His Arms? Rape, Race, and Intimacy's Salve 113

5 In the Shadow of Anarcha: Race, Pain, and Medical Storytelling 145

6 The Abduction will not be Televised: Suffering Hierarchies, Simple Stories, and the Logic of Child Protection in the United States 185

Coda: Lifetime, Anyone? A Meditation on Victims 227

Notes 233

Index 271

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