University of Oulu

Moran, Matthew. “Entangled Encounters: The Transcultural Counterwitness and Implication in Claudia Rankine and John Lucas’s Situations.” American Studies Journal 69 (2020). Web. 1 Dec. 2020. DOI 10.18422/69-03

Entangled encounters : the transcultural counterwitness and implication in Claudia Rankine and John Lucas’s Situations

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Author: Moran, Matthew1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu (Finland)
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Göttingen University Press, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-12-10


Drawing on current definitions of public testimony, this study turns to the work of Claudia Rankine and John Lucas’s Situations to explore how video poems challenge the pervasive stereotyping of black Americans in mainstream journalism and implicate viewers, particularly white ones, into the everyday and historical traumas of racial violence. Video poems, such as Situations, take advantage of multimodal channels to move viewers beyond spectator guilt to introduce a more nuanced understanding of American and global racism. Through an investigation of three of their video poems, “Stop and Frisk,” “In Memory of Trayvon Martin,” and “World Cup,” this study explores how Rankine and Lucas’s work opposes, and engages with, the pervasive stereotyping of black Americans presented in mainstream news media; how the multimodal nature of video poetry problematizes the viewers’ relationship with American and global racism; and how acts of counterwitnessing implicate viewers into distant histories of racial trauma.

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Series: American studies journal
ISSN: 1433-5239
ISSN-E: 2199-7268
ISSN-L: 1433-5239
Volume: 69
Article number: 03
DOI: 10.18422/69-03
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6122 Literature studies
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author and American Studies Journal. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.