Rosie the Riveter, an Icon of (Fe/male) Liberation
Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter became overnight (in 1943) the icon of female warrior at a time when women were for the first time officially accepted to do various jobs in the army. Yet, the picture is known to be a composite portrait, which, besides the fact that it is a replica of a male body dressed in overalls, combines the double image of aggressive masculinity and cheeky, if not subversive, femininity. My paper will attempt to discuss the component parts of the portrait, a cluster of iconic images (the American flag, “Mein Campf”, the rivet, the sandwich), and analyse the reasons why a series of juxtaposed icons may create a new icon with a different meaning.
"Uncle Tom": Literature, Ethnology and Popular Culture in Mid-Nineteenth Century America
Shaped by the intensifying debate around slavery and human origin that reached across the U.S. in the mid-ninettenth century, the main character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's most popular novel soon became a cultural icon for racial difference. This paper discusses this complex and conflicting icon in the moment of its inception, analyzing its career it in the context of pre-Darwinian racist science and racialist romanticism. Both of these discourses conceptualized racial and ethnic difference in a framework provided by the attributive dichotomy “barbarous” and “civilized”. As a cultural icon, the "Uncle Tom" character accomodated contradictory racial agendas of the time and was thus able to serve as a vehicle for the shifting cultural consensus on racial and ethnic difference.
Cristian, Reka M.
The American Dream: Edward Albee and the Subversion of the Icon
The concept of the American Dream is a broad one denoting one major American icon and connoting much more. The aim of the presentation is to show how the concept of the modern(ist) American Dream icon is challenged, subverted, redefined and reformulated in the dramaturgy of Edward Albee by taking into consideration - besides the concepts of iconicity, emblem, euphemisation, omissions, taboos - issues of social structure and gender constructions. The American Dream, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Sandbox, A Delicate Balance, Finding the Sun and The Play About the Baby are the plays that form the basis of the discussion and provide the material basis for a redefined American (dramatic) icon.
The Power of the West Wing
The concern of this paper is to analyse visual representations of the White House as the icon of power and the power this icon exercises. i.e. the paper depicts the ways in which the cinematically produced White House participates in the (iconic) construction of the concept or idea of American democratic system, power, ideology. It explores the building and "inventing of the tradition" of the system with its all mythical and abstract potentials. The case study is body of the Hollywood films of the nineties but as neatly summed up in the TV series West Wing. In spite of its transparency the series neatly recaps the Hollywood tradition- ITS' subversive and affirmative richness; 'optimistic/JFK' ((Dave/1993, d. I. Reitman; American President/1995, r. Reiner etc.)) and 'pessimistic/Nixon' (Murder at 16.00/1997, d. D. Little; Clear and Present Danger/1994, d. Philip Noyce) paradigmatic portrayals and generic variety from neocapraesque comedy to thrillers that span across Washington's institutional domain.
White House is just one, but important element in the iconicity of power– inseparable from the mythical figure of the President,; close to Washington sites, CIA, Pentagon etc. It is home of the President, his professional and private space; nodal point of creation of internal and external politics mapping out the political power and web of relations. It is the center of the ruling system and gathering point of political executives and employees, sort of micro version of the whole society, its (democratic) strata and world influence. The topography of the iconic space - that neatly reflects the real one - and mise-en-scene of the staff outline the (idelaised?) relations between classes, ethnicities, genders and other social groups in whole of USA.
The Western Movie Icon
In the Native American Literary Imagination
This paper explores the ways in which the Native writers Sherman Alexie and Thomas King resist the romanticized image of the Native “other” as represented in the Western movie by undermining and exposing many of its conventions. In older Western movies, Indians are often played by white actors pretending to be Natives. Natives are portrayed as stoic and humorless beings without depth. Alexie and King show Natives as funny and sensitive beings well aware of their situation as colonized subjects.
The icons of Western imagination are often subverted in Native American literature and film. In Alexie’s and King’s texts the Western icons are appropriated and made to fit the Native narrative. For example, in King’s novel Green Grass, Running Water the main characters – four Indian elders bear the names of heroes from the Western imagination: Hawkeye, Ishmael, Lone Ranger, and Robinson Crusoe – who magically alter the endings of well-known Western movies. In Alexie’s screenplay Smoke Signals, the first Native feature film to receive recognition by a wide audience, the main characters make up a song, “John Wayne’s Teeth,” with traditional drums poking fun at this quintessential Western hero in order to render the icon of the Western imagination powerless. King’s and Alexie’s writings permit their Natives to reclaim a Native identity, not based on the Western image of the colonized Native subject, but a representation that reflects their cultural identity as members of the Native American community.
This paper explores the ways in which the Native writers Sherman Alexie and Thomas King resist the romanticized image of the Native “other” in the Western imagination by appropriating and poking fun at Western icons, thus rendering them powerless. King’s and Alexie’s writings permit their Native characters to reclaim a Native identity, not based on the Western image of the colonized Native subject, but one that reflects their cultural identity as members of the Native American community.