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Television in Black-And-White America: Race and National Identity (Culture America)

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Television in Black-And-White America: Race and National Identity (Culture America) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Alan Nadel's provocative new book reminds us that most of the images on early TV were decidedly Caucasian and directed at predominantly white audiences. Television did not invent whiteness for America, but it did reinforce it as the norm—particularly during the Cold War years. Nadel now shows just how instrumental it was in constructing a narrow, conservative, and very white vision of America.

Nadel depicts a time when television effectively hijacked and monopolized the nation's vision of itself to create a virtual but severely distorted civic space. On Cold War TV's three channels there were no double beds, no liberated housewives, no social criticism, and no homosexuality. And the few available black faces overwhelmingly belonged to athletes, musical entertainers, and actors playing menial roles. Even America's beloved Walt Disney promoted his highly popular TV and theme-park versions of society as utterly homogeneous representations of reality.

During this era, prime-time TV was dominated by "adult westerns," with heroes like The Rebel's Johnny Yuma reincarnating southern values and Bonanza's Cartwright family reinforcing the notion of white patriarchy—programs that, Nadel shows, bristled with Cold War messages even as they spoke to the nation's mythology. America had become visually reconfigured as a vast Ponderosa, crisscrossed by concrete highways designed to carry suburban white drivers beyond the moral challenge of racism and racial poverty and increasingly vocal civil rights demands.

Television in Black-and-White America revisits a time and space that some might miss for its simplicity and relative innocence. Nadel, however, entreats us to look beyond such nostalgia to see how, even in its earliest days, television had already become a powerful mediator of social norms that both controlled and warped our sense of reality.

Book News Annotation:

American television in the Cold War era, argues Nadel (literature and film, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), played a central role in solidifying a "national imaginary" of white homogeneity and conformity. Along the way he discusses the how the interstate system and the weekly television show, Disneyland, together helped construct suburban conceptions of geographic space; how television Westerns transmitted ideas supportive of Cold War ideological messages; and how televisual images of Southern rebels such as Johnny Yuma sought to undermine the Civil Rights movement.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

American television in the Cold War era, argues Nadel (literature and film, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), played a central role in solidifying a "national imaginary" of white homogeneity and conformity. Along the way he discusses the how the interstate system and the weekly television show, Disneyland, together helped construct suburban conceptions of geographic space; how television Westerns transmitted ideas supportive of Cold War ideological messages; and how televisual images of Southern rebels such as Johnny Yuma sought to undermine the Civil Rights movement. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Black Bodies, White Space, and a Televisual Nation

2. Television, Reality, and Cold War Citizenship

3. Disneyland, the Interstate, and National Space

4. The Adult Western and the Western Bloc

5. Rebel Integrity, Southern Injustice, and Civil Rights

6. The New Frontier

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700613984
Author:
Nadel, Alan
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Subject:
History
Subject:
Discrimination & Racism
Subject:
Television - History & Criticism
Subject:
Television broadcasting
Subject:
National characteristics, american
Subject:
United States Race relations History.
Subject:
Film and Television-Media Studies
Subject:
Popular Culture
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Culture America
Publication Date:
20051031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
236
Dimensions:
9.28x6.46x.89 in. 1.13 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Media Studies
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Racism and Ethnic Conflict
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

Television in Black-And-White America: Race and National Identity (Culture America) New Hardcover
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