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Timely, multidisciplinary analysis of Obama’s presidential campaign, its context, and its impact.
November 4, 2008 ushered in a historic moment: Illinois Senator Barack Obama was elected the forty-fourth President of the United States of America. In The Obama Effect, editors Heather E. Harris, Kimberly R. Moffitt, and Catherine R. Squires bring together works that place Barack Obama’s candidacy and victory in the context of the American experience with race and the media. Following Obama’s victory, optimists claimed that the campaign signaled the arrival of an era of postracism and postfeminism in the United States. This collection of essays, all presented at a national conference to discuss the meaning and impact of the nomination of the first presidential candidate of African descent, remind the reader that reaching a point in U.S. history where a biracial man could be deemed “electable” is part of a still-ongoing struggle. It resists the temptation to dismiss the uncertainty, hope, and fear that characterized the events and discourse of the two-year primary and general election cycle and brings together multidisciplinary approaches to assessing “the Obama effect” on public discourse and participation. This volume provides readers with a means for recalling and mapping out the enduring issues that erupted during the campaign—issues that will continue to shape how our society views itself and President Obama in the coming years.
“This eclectic collection of essays serves as a timely analysis of that global figure in a way that is relevant to researchers, teachers, and students across various disciplines. By crossing scholarly, gender, and ethnic-racial lines and positions, this group of personal, political, and popular renderings of the 2008 campaign offers a much-needed illumination on the new, nontraditional president.” — Presidential Studies Quarterly
“The Obama Effect resists the temptation to dismiss the uncertainty, hope, and fear that characterized the events and discourse of the two-year primary and general election cycle. By bringing together multidisciplinary approaches, the collection provides readers with a means for recalling and mapping out the enduring issues that erupted during the campaign—issues that will continue to shape how our society views itself and President Obama in the coming years.” — Stevenson University Newsroom
“Neither biography, hagiography, or demonization, The Obama Effect provides a refreshingly balanced interrogation of many issues the candidacy and presidency of Barack Obama has unearthed in American society, politics, and identity construction. It is an important contribution to a much-needed substantive body of work trapped neither by Obamamania nor Obamaphobia. This is a highly recommended read ranging across disciplines.” — Ricky L. Jones, author of What’s Wrong with Obamamania?: Black America, Black Leadership, and the Death of Political Imagination
Heather E. Harris is Associate Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University. Kimberly R. Moffitt is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She is the coeditor (with Regina E. Spellers) of Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/ Body Politics in Africana Communities. Catherine R. Squires is John and Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity, and Equality at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Dispatches from the Color Line: The Press and Multiracial America, also published by SUNY Press, and African Americans and the Media.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Preface Desiree Cooper
Introduction Catherine Squires, Heather Harris, and Kimberly Moffitt
Section I: Rhetoric
1. White Males Lose Presidency for First Time: Exposing the Power of Whiteness through Obama’s Victory Dina Gavrilos
2. Hermeneutical Rhetoric and Progressive Change: Barack Obama’s American Exceptionalism James T. Petre
3. Ghosts and Gaps: A Rhetorical Examination of Temporality and Spatial Metaphors in Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” Sarah McCaffrey
Section II: New Media
4. Media Politics 2.0: An Obama Effect Michael Cheney and Crytal Olsen
5. The Webbed Message: Re-Visioning the American Dream Heather E. Harris
6. The Resonant Message and the Powerful New Media: An Analysis of the Obama Presidential Campaign Qingwen Dong, Kenneth D. Day, and Raman Deol
7. Beyond the Candidate: Obama, YouTube, and (My) Asian-ness Konrad Ng
Section III: Identities
8. Post-Soul President: Dreams from My Father and the Post-Soul Aesthetic Bertram D. Ashe
9. “Let Us Not Falter Before Our Complexity”: Barack Obama and the Legacy of Ralph Ellison M. Cooper Harriss
10. The Obama Effect on American Discourse about Racial Identity: Dreams from My Father (and Mother), Barack Obama’s Search for Self Suzanne W. Jones
11. Our First Unisex President? Obama, Critical Race Theory, and Masculinities Studies Frank Rudy Cooper
Section IV: Publics
12. Oprah and Obama: Theorizing Celebrity Endorsementin U.S. Politics Rebecca A. Kuehl
13. The Obama Mass: Barack Obama, Image, and Fear of the Crowd Robert Spicer
14. Mothers Out to Change U.S. Politics: Obama Mamas Involved and Engaged Grace J. Yoo, Emily H. Zimmerman, and Katherine Preston
Section V: Representations
15. For the Love of Obama: Race, Nation, and the Politics of Relation Aimee Carillo Rowe
16. Framing a First Lady: Media Coverage of Michelle Obama’s Role in the 2008 Presidential Election Kimberly R. Moffitt
17. The Feminist (?) Hero versus the Black Messiah: Contesting Gender and Race in the 2008 Democratic Primary Enid Lynette Logan