Jun 21, 2005

"masculine American whiteness in various states of crisis" [LINK]

A May 11 call for papers from Robert Bennett, English professor at Montana State University, reproduced in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

For the 2005 Western Literature Association Conference in Los Angeles, we plan to organize a panel on the film icon, Brad Pitt. Why Brad Pitt? As one of this generation's most popular actors, Pitt has explored many of the cultural tensions of our emerging postmodern era. Depicting masculine American whiteness in various states of crisis, his characters generally enact complex postmodern agencies; they are never wholly coherent, they are often self-destructive, and they generally rely on a certain amount of play — between stability and instability, between life and death, between autonomy and alter-dependency, between control and abandon. Simultaneously reifying and challenging hegemonic codes of race, class, gender, and regional or national identity, his characters explore the complex and changing postmodern cultural landscape. Tracing his performances through a variety of films and theoretical texts we hope to explain Brad Pitt's multidimensional postmodernity by exploring: 1) the cultural logic of his performances, showing how they dramatize postmodern cultural tensions, and 2) the kind of cultural or political work that his performances accomplish, or the difference that they make and the impact that they have on the audiences who watch them. ...
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

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