American Shame

American Shame

Stigma and the Body Politic
Myra Mendible
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/29/2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01982-0
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On any given day in America’s news cycle, stories and images of disgraced politicians and celebrities solicit our moral indignation, their misdeeds fueling a lucrative economy of shame and scandal. Shame is one of the most coercive, painful, and intriguing of human emotions. Only in recent years has interest in shame extended beyond a focus on the subjective experience of this emotion and its psychological effects. The essays collected here consider the role of shame as cultural practice and examine ways that public shaming practices enforce conformity and group coherence. Addressing abortion, mental illness, suicide, immigration, and body image among other issues, this volume calls attention to the ways shaming practices create and police social boundaries; how shaming speech is endorsed, judged, or challenged by various groups; and the distinct ways that shame is encoded and embodied in a nation that prides itself on individualism, diversity, and exceptionalism. Examining shame through a prism of race, sexuality, ethnicity, and gender, these provocative essays offer a broader understanding of how America’s discourse of shame helps to define its people as citizens, spectators, consumers, and moral actors.

Author Bio

Myra Mendible is Professor in the Languages and Literature Department at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers. She is editor of From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Culture and Race 2008: Critical Reflections on an Historic Campaign.


“An eclectic anthology, it offers the readers more than one argument and perspective, which makes the volume itself lively and rich.”
 — Ron Scapp, coeditor of Fashion Statements: On Style, Appearance, and Reality

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Table of Contents

Introduction: American Shame and the Boundaries of Belonging / Myra Mendible
Part 1: Scarlet Letters: Gender, Race, and Stigma
1. Shame Before the Law: Affects of Abortion Regulation / Karen Weingarten
2. Sex, Shame, and the Single Life: Bond and the "Black Shirley Temple" / Daniel McNeil
3. Neoliberal Crimmigration: The "Common Sense" Shaming of the Undocumented / Leah Perry
4. The Look of Sovereignty: Style, Shame, and Politics in the Young Lords / Frances Negrón-Muntaner
Part 2: Disciplining the Body Politic: Domestic and Foreign Policy
5. Suicide as an Invocation of Shame in Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist / Renee Lee Gardner
6. Fat, Shame, and the Disciplining Practices of Health Expertise / Meghan Griffin
7. Citizenship at Odds: Disability, Liberalism and the Shame of Interdependence / Noel Glover
Part 3: Bodies on Display: Performing Shame in Visual Arts
8. Shame and Shitting: Postfeminist Episodes in Contemporary Hollywood Films / Madeline Walker
9. Distancing Maneuvers: Collective Shame in Iraq War Films / Mike Rancourt
10. Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill, Shame, and the Rise of the "Slasher" Trope in Halloween / Anthony Carlton Cooke
11. Shaming and Reclaiming Women’s Sexuality through Cinematic Depictions of Masturbation / Megan Tagle Adams
12. Dieting for the Sake of Art: Eleanor Antin, Rachel Rosenthal, and Faith Ringgold / Emily Newman

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