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Well, I Can See My Work Here Is Done…

Well, not quite, but I was feeling rather gratified to know someone out there has been listening to those lectures.

After the speech contest orientation (for a contest which is mandatory for our junior-year English Language & Culture majors), one of my students approached me and asked, “Is it possible for me to use things we’ve discussed in our Understanding Popular Cultures class for my speech?”

“Well… in what way do you mean?” I ask, wondering whether she means materials, concepts, or actual discussions on texts or films.

“I want to talk about sexist and racist discourses in James Bond 007 films…” she says. “Especially about the Bond Girls.”

Yeah, someone’s been listening. We’ve narrowed it down to sexism, for manageability within the 10 minute time limit, and she’s now off hunting up Moonraker, Octopussy, and Goldfinger — the titles that came to mind quickest for me — and thinking about what the marginalization and sexualization of women in Bond films suggests when we consider what Bond himself is supposed to represent. (If women are being excluded, who is it making room for, and why and how does he dominate the narrative?)

Interesting stuff. Tomorrow, we’ll be talking about Andy Duncan’s story “Beluthahatchie,” the Robert Johnson mythos, and what both have to do with the construction of blackness in American popular culture. On which theme, following next week: Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, and blackface minstrelsy.

(Future weeks hold promises of:

… and more. Big fun.)

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