Shine: On race, glamour, and the modern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Is the fetish the only way to understand glamour, especially when it comes to the glamour of racialized women? How do we talk about agency and embodiment for a mediated figure? How does celebrity afect a subject whose body has been overembodied yet depersonalized? his essay suggests that the unlikely conjunction among celebrity, glamour, and racial difference may be the place where we are compelled to confront the intimacy, rather than opposition, between personhood and objectification. Turning to Anna May Wong, an iconic "race beauty" in the early twentieth century, this essay argues that Wong's glamour is achieved neither through her apparently racialized performances nor through her uncomplicated assumption of female agency but rather through a paradoxical staging and erasure of Ther own body and skin. By asking how a celebrated body might operate subjunctively rather than materially, we can begin to question the imperatives of personhood that drive both celebrity and race studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1022-1041
Number of pages20
JournalPMLA
Volume126
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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