American Ugly: Appearance and Aesthetics in Cultures of U.S. - download pdf or read online

Cultural Studies

By Tracy Anne Sachtjen

This venture brings jointly an research of neighborhood background, commercial capitalism, and U.S. empire to argue that ugliness---much greater than a personal challenge among somebody and her mirror---became a mode of justifying keep an eye on over the folk and areas remodeled through the commercial strategies of nineteenth-century enlargement. This dissertation engages ugliness as a historic formation to investigate how its repeated invocation in well known cultures supplied a simple avatar of terrible distinction opposed to which a nationalist physique can be respected. Ugliness specified a physique so misplaced or outpaced via smooth beliefs that exclusion grew to become the solution to nationalized clash. during this method, metaphors of visual appeal and aesthetic worth buttressed the present rhetoric of enlargement. This venture contributes to the examine of nationalist formation and embodiment via illuminating gender as a prop for racial abjection.

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Extra info for American Ugly: Appearance and Aesthetics in Cultures of U.S. Nationalism, 1848-1915

Example text

Atherton MSS. 29 37 doubt that anyone was ever vainer than I. 33 Atherton adored the praise and capitalized upon her beauty, directing the many photographers and artists who rendered her image to feature the right side of her face (to her, the superior side), and to spotlight her white shoulders, clear complexion, and golden tresses. Beauty, her own as well as that of her characters or her audience, continued to be a primary focus of her writing, and her columns in popular magazines reflect this interest.

18 of nationalism have argued. Nira Yuval-Davis has explained that within nationalist contexts, gender works as a mode of belonging to the normative citizen categories of man and woman. She writes, "Hegemonic cultures present a specific view about the meaning of the world and the nature of social order. The relationships between women and men are crucial for such a perspective . . " This construction of women as symbols, or just as often the idea of "women's work," serves nationalism by defining specific roles for women.

50 For Carmelita, the imagery was much the same. When she stumbled upon a group of Anglo American lumberjacks and thus upon an image of California's future, she had "tangled, leaf-sown hair," a sight that both confused and aroused her interlocutors. "51 When Tremaine romanced Carmelita, the same fetish framed the scene: Tremaine "gathered an arm-full of ice grass and heavy ferns and waded out to Carmelita. "52 In this moment, the beauty of the mixed-race woman hovered on the threshold between nature and culture, and her interpellation was pitched upon the European man's capacity to eroticize her liminality.

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