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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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4

Race/Ethnicity in Media History

Catherine Squires

ABSTRACT

Media historians and scholars who utilize historical comparison in their work have drawn upon critical race theory to guide their interrogations of the past, and have structured important, complex renderings of media histories that debunk simple timeline and “great individual” approaches to historical inquiry. Attending to race/ethnicity in historical inquiry enriches scholarship, regardless of whether the subject is explicitly recognized as part of a marginalized racial/ethnic group or its cultural expressions. Unpacking the large and subtle ways race/ethnicity have shaped our media systems, production, and reception serves to both complicate and complete our view of the past.

This chapter maps studies of race/ethnicity and media history in four sections: (1) “Rediscovering Roots” illustrates how scholars have unearthed and preserved contributions of people of color overlooked by prior historians; (2) “Documenting Discrimination” reviews work that excavates histories of structural barriers, stereotype production, and other institutional exclusions in media history; (3) “Multiculturalisms and National Identit(ies)” explores scholarship that has acknowledged that our current era is not the first “multicultural” one to emerge; (4) “Public Memory, Race and Media” looks at the ways in which media scholars have turned to the role of media's influence in public commemoration of historical events and figures, and how media ...

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