Session 2

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Friday, March 4th
11:00 AM

Comic Book Superheroes: A Strategy for Cultural Incorporation

Silvia F. Sanchez, Florida International University
Robert E. Gutsche Jr, Florida International University

GC140, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

In July 2014, Marvel Entertainment announced that the white, blue-eyed character of Captain America would be changed to an African-American character, and the male character of Thor would be changed to a female character. Media discourse following these announcements, and the actual changes that underwent in the “Marvel Universe,” caused a commotion of both positive and negative reactions. This paper explores the portrayal of superheroes in comic books as a strategy for cultural incorporation, including the issues of hegemonic stereotyping, racial classification and gender embodiment. We analyze discourse in various media outlets, which are used as a traditional marketing device for indoctrination. The paper compares news in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today to Marvel corporate statements and text from sci-fi comics blogs, such as Comics Alliance, Newsarama, and The Beat. We argue this case provides further evidence of cultural incorporation that are embedded in comic books and used for indoctrination to dominant U.S. culture.

Keywords: Cultural incorporation, indoctrination, stereotypes, race, gender, strategic communication, public relations, advertising

11:20 AM

The Savage and the Sweetheart: Analysis of Latino Narratives in Recent Primetime Television

Melissa Scott, Florida International University

GC140, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

11:20 AM - 11:35 AM

Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States and are quickly gaining acknowledgment for their abilities to increase businesses' capital. Nonetheless, Latinos are being portrayed infrequently and haphazardly in media outlets. This presentation examines recent gendered trends in media representation of Latinos in American primetime television. The TV shows Brooklyn Nine-nine and Jane the Virgin display how increases in the representation of Latina women in Television has allowed for complications in the overarching “tropicalism”- inspired narrative about Latina women. Conversely, the show Empire and Mr. Robot display the trend of declining amounts of male Latino roles. This deepening gap in male Latino representation has further homogenized the characteristics of Latino men and has brought a revitalization of the brown savage trope. This presentation explores the relationship between fiction and non-fiction narratives of Latinidad to demonstrate how popular media and politics are interconnected.

11:40 AM

Chronicling: The failure of narrative-construction in the study of a transmasculine cyber community

Rosalie Schurman, Florida International University

GC140, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

11:40 AM - 11:55 AM

Life history narratives, as colorful and dynamic as they seem, often belie the complexity of transgender men’s lives. In academic discourse, trans men’s embodied experiences of time and space are typically represented in linear, heteronormative terms; the trans man emerges as a modified version of the normatively gendered man. As a discursive strategy, the narrative form organizes and presents the milestones of “transition” as a kind of scaffolding: rendered as progressive, undifferentiated moments in the evolution of the trans man, name changes, surgeries and hormone injections define the transgender man as an identifiable type, while the messy, brick-and-mortar details of everyday life—all those things that cannot be reduced to the narrative of trans men’s lives—are discarded. Even the most careful qualitative work sometimes falls into this trap by framing research and interview questions around social acceptance and the struggle to attain “authenticity.” Such strategies, embedded as they are in orthodox gender norms, predetermine their findings and necessarily fail to apprehend the complexity of trans men’s lives. In fact, trans men are not distorted reflections of “normalcy” (a set of expectations that no one, in truth, fulfills); they move through time and space in different ways that diverge from the cleanliness and order of the narrative form. By adapting these stories to the demands of narrative, scholars have obscured a rich landscape of unexpected trajectories and fluid encounters with time.

12:00 PM

Queer Theory as a form of Post-Modernism

Sacha Franklin-Jeune, Florida Atlantic University

GC140, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM

Queer theorists and post-modernists have historically developed their concepts along similar lines. The ideas brought forth by these two disciplines problematize the ideologies and endeavors of Westernized nations in being able to define the status quo of the society. Individuals of these communities are molded into accepting the binary differences of men and women; the understandings of Western nations dichotomize individuals under the queer umbrella from the dominant heterosexual population. This separation has historically favored the heterosexual populace. Theorists, such as Judith Butler, criticize the normality of heterosexual behavior being instituted as the “norm” since these performances are deemed acceptable in the eye of the public. Many of these performances can fall within the realm of four prominent components of day to day living – integrity of identity, the right to religion, the institution of marriage, and adoption/parenting – in Western societies that were defined around a heterosexual population and redefined through queer theory to be inclusive of queers. From the deconstruction of these “truths” come new altered understandings that are more fitting for those whom do not fit in the cookie mold of static heterosexuality. The popular idiom used by many queer individuals “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” sums up the path that queer theory is forming, to create societal equality between the queer population and their heterosexual neighbors.