This fall gnovis put out a call for its first academic year themed issue, Difference. Managing Editor Akoto Ofori-Atta and myself felt strongly that our final publication as gnovis Editors should be one that focused specifically on issues of power, marginalization and difference areas that are of great personal significance to us as black women. Aware that there were many graduate students already speaking to these issues in their work, we were excited in September to see what a targeted call for papers would produce. Our authors did not disappoint!
The articles in the Fall 2010 issue deal with themes of representation, consumption, and cultural production, which are all complicated in one way or another by difference. Each author utilizes some form of critical analysis, be it feminist deconstruction, critical race theory, or other critical traditions to shed light on contemporary issues in media representations today. Race, gender, class and nationality are just four of the lenses the authors use to analyze popular culture texts and literature, shedding light on the ways that marginalization is re-inscribed in cultural practices and representations. However, just as our everyday cultural landscape is complicated in terms of agency and power, so too do the authors complicate questions of resistance, power, helplessness and marginalization.
In Krump or Die: Krumping and Racist Ideologies in the Production and Reception of Rize, author Ariel Nereson takes a careful look at the constructions of blackness in the documentary film Rize. Specifically, Nereson contextualizes the images and narrative utilized by filmmaker David LaChapelle to argue whether or not Rize as a cultural production and a representational product confirms the persistence of racist expectations about blackness. Nereson also considers ways that the krumpers own behavior resists these constructions.
Joan Flores-Villalobos analyzes the complex and contradictory intersections of hip-hop, technoliteracy, and capitalism as they converge at the site of young black male rap stars in Video Games, Hip-Hop and the Ironies of Capitalism. Using rap artist Soulja Boy as the primary case study, Flores-Villalobos masterfully explicates the manner in which black male hip-hop artists engage in a complicated relationship with the media-centered economy.
In Just Look At it: The Cultural Logic of Contemporary Action Heroine Cinema, author Mao Chengting analyzes the debate between feminist and postfeminist theorists over representations of the female action heroine in U.S. cinema. Specifically, Chengting argues that the construction of the Hollywood blockbuster is a composite commodity produc[ing] an audience that looks at the superficial images for sensual pleasure.
Nathan Horton looks at some of the reasons for the long cultural life of the title The Ugly American in his paper From Cultural Document to Lexical Niche: The Cultural Continuity of The Ugly American. By analyzing secondary sources, Horton looks at how the culturally insensitive attitudes and performances of Americans living abroad were so ubiquitous that they became the personification an entire nationality.
In Manhood as Commodity: The NBA as Reinforcer of Black Masculinities, Victoria Sung analyses NBA highlight montages, NBA basketball games and other NBA-related texts to illuminate the portrayal of the Black male athlete as spectacle to be commodified Taking into consideration race, gender and economics, Sung draws attention to the way that multiple areas of privilege and marginalization converge at the site of black male bodies.
Each semester, gnovis is only able to produce a journal issue with the contributions and tireless work of our authors, peer reviewers and staff. We’d like to personally thank each of our authors for their hard work, their willingness to make last-minute revisions, their patience, and their scholarship. Your articles are what make this entire process so rewarding for our staff.
To our peer reviewers, your dedication to rigorous constructive critique and attention to detail has allowed us to have tremendous confidence in publishing each of the papers we do this semester. As gnovis grows and we receive more submissions, our peer reviewers are the ones that provide sustained, careful readings of each and every paper. Your time and dedication are deeply appreciated.
To the gnovis staff, without you the process of putting together the journal and making it visible to the world simply would not happen. Your commitment to gnovis is unparalleled. The process of putting together a journal this semester was the most smooth it has ever been in my time at gnovis, with every one doing a piece of the work. Look at this masterpiece we’ve put together! I’d especially like to thank staffers Josh Hubanks, Julie Espinosa, Alicia Dillon, Allison Bland, Colleen Valentine, and Lauren Barnett for your attention to detail in carefully copy-editing and coding the articles; Alicia Dillon for your impeccable taste in selecting the visuals for our journal; Lakshmi Padmanabhan for being our pinch hitter and for having some of the most astute critiquing skills I’ve yet seen in my young career; and Colva Weissenstein for your efforts making our gnovis events delicious and beautiful.
I want to give a very special thanks to Mauricio Orantes, our first-ever Webmeister, who has been patient, consistent, and dedicated in tending to the site and in building the journal piece-by-piece. You are a trailblazer for gnovis!
I also want to thank Akoto Ofori-Atta, my Managing Editor extraordinaire, who is far and away the reason our journals have come to fruition each semester for the last few years. As my partner in crime, I have come to deeply respect and value your editorial skill, diplomacy, and humor. As you leave gnovis in the coming semester, I hope you can look back at your body of work here with great pride.
It is with tremendous pleasure that I also introduce our readers to our up-and-coming editorial staff. They will oversee the journal through its production stages next semester with the support of the gnovis staff. Colleen Valentine, our Assistant Managing Editor has led by example, insisting on a standard of excellence that makes me proud. I wish you perseverance, good humor, and pretty calendars next semester! And Lauren Barnett, our rising Editor-in-Chief, has been perseverant, dedicated and determined this semester to learn the inner-workings of gnovis and develop herself as a leader. Your humor, calmness in the midst of crisis, and approachability will take our entire gnovis operation to the next level in the coming years. I wish you both great success as you take on these tasks!
And, as this is my last editor’s note with gnovis, I want to say that my time with this online graduate journal has been rewarding and deeply gratifying. I have the privilege of working with bright and creative students each week, and appreciate the learning I have done outside of the classroom through gnovis. I leave gnovis with a belief that the journal and blog are still unique online academic spaces, and I as I pass the torch to the next class, I am excited about what they will do in the next year. I hope our readership continues to find gnovis to be a space that challenges boundaries between formal and informal knowledges, and a space that continues to integrate the best of the academy with the best of new media.