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Resources: Podcasts

Angharad Valdivia: Implicit Utopias, Ambiguous Ethics, and Neoliberal Rescues


Date:  Thursday, September 24, 2015

Presenter:  Dr. Angharad N. Valdivia is Research Professor of the Institute of Communications Research and Department of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois, Inaugural Head of Media and Cinema Studies, and past Director of the Institute of Communications Research, 2009-2014. She publishes on transnationalism, gender and popular culture. Books include A Latina in the Land of Hollywood; Feminism, Multiculturalism and the Media; A Companion to Media Studies; Latina/o Communication Studies Today; Mapping Latina/o Studies; and Latina/os and the Media. She edited Communication Theory and the International Encyclopedia of Media Studies (2012/2013), a 7-volume full-length article encyclopedia with Wiley/Blackwell.

Description:  This presentation formed the keystone lecture for the 2015 Race and Media Conference organized by the UNM Department of Communication and Journalism in partnership with numerous campus and community entities.

As part of the conference, Dr. Valdivia discussed how debates about the politics of and approaches to inclusion and presence of previously minoritized groups often center on popular culture. Historically underrepresented populations in the US have sought presence and change in their mainstream representation. One undeniable component of any politics of inclusion has to be mainstream media. So-called "minority" populations deserve presence and respect in the mainstream because they/we are part of the mainstream, and expectations that apply to mainstream presence go to the core of citizenship issues. This presentation proposes a series of overlapping paradigms of representation beginning at erasure and ending with hybridity and ambiguity, which serve to articulate mixture and flow of global population while simultaneously enabling a commodification of difference that serves capitalist purposes. Furthermore, neoliberal approaches to global philanthropy exemplify the uses and abuses of hybridity when structures of power recede to the background in favor of a Western savior narrative.

For reference, see the 2015 Race and Media Conference website