Tanya Ann Kennedy
Postfeminism and Postracialism in United States Culture
SUNY Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network August 6, 2017 Lilly Goren
Tanya Ann Kennedy‘s book, Historicizing Post-Discourses: Postfeminism and Postracialism in United States Culture (SUNY Press, 2017), is a complex and important exploration of our collective understanding of questions of racial and gender equality, or lack thereof. The text specifically interrogates the theoretical concepts of postracialism and postfeminism and the discourse surrounding these terms and their meaning. Kennedy examines these ideas, where they were initially linked together, and how they have been pursued separately, often without attention paid to the intersectional nature of how race and gender actually interact within American culture and society. Historicizing Post-Discourses examines these concepts within a variety of cultural venues, including television series like Mad Men, The Wire, and Gray’s Anatomy; within films like The Help, Perfect Stranger, The Blind Side, and Monsters Ball; within popular non-fiction like Lean-In and The End of Men; and in political speeches and rhetoric that have been integrated into our culture, often without historically clear contexts. Postracialism and postfeminism have become frameworks that often reify cultural and political tropes within American society, and Kennedy’s book explores how these frameworks and narratives reaffirm heroic notions of individualism and triumphalism, especially in our popular culture consumption.