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Texting Obama: The impact of Barack Obama’s presidency in the US
01 November 2012
November 6th 2012 marks the 57th quadrennial US presidential election. Democratic Party candidate and current President Barack Obama is running for a second and final term during this election.
A special double issue of Comparative American Studies, published by Maney Publishing, brings together a group of international humanities scholars with a critical interest in the texts surrounding Barack Obama’s campaign for the US presidency, and those that have circulated since his election.
The collection of essays is divided into four sections: Obama and America, Obama Imageries, Obama and the World, and the Obamas and the Media. It looks beyond the confines of the US in order to offer a globalised, international and postcolonial perspective on the impact of Obama’s presidency.
The collection explores how far Obama’s presidency can be considered ‘post-racial’, through investigations of the ways in which civil rights rhetoric has altered under Obama’s presidential term, as well as critical essays investigating the uses made of existing archives of racial discourses in the images and narratives that have circulated around the Obama family.
The editors argue that the many different forms of text and ‘texting’ that have amassed to Obama, or been scripted by him – familial, biographical, racial and political – suggest a broad socio-cultural revisiting of race in America and across the globe that has been precipitated by the arrival of an African-American president. It explores Obama’s impact in the US but also in Africa and across Europe.
David Goldberg notes in this collection: one of the paradoxes of Obama’s impact on racial discourse is that his presidency marks the disappearance of race from the public vernacular as coeval with its rehousing in the domain of the private. The disappearance/re-introduction of race at the centre of US politics suggests a subsequent growth and dissemination of racialised or racist images in public and private spheres.
The special edition furthermore focuses on electronic media through which the Obama campaign became identified, such as his significant presence on the internet. Elizabeth Losh’s essay offers a timely account of Obama’s relationship to the social media and his engagement with ‘participatory culture’, in addition to articles regarding the various ways in which Obama’s ‘legitimacy’ has been challenged.
Professor Nick Selby, Editor of Comparative American Studies, comments “This special issue is especially timely. Its examination of Obama comes as Americans go to the polls to elect their next President. But it also measures Obama against various challenges – of race and civil rights, of those posed by new media – crucially faced by the US in its participation on the world stage.”
The issue is free to download via IngentaConnect for one month at: www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/cas
Comparative American Studies is an international journal that extends scholarly debates about American studies beyond the geographical boundaries of the United States, repositioning discussions about American culture within an international, comparative framework.
For more information visit www.maneypublishing.com/journals/cas.