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Journal Article

Recognition on the Surface of Madeline Anderson’s I Am Somebody

Shilyh Warren
Signs
Vol. 38, No. 2 (Winter 2013), pp. 353-378
DOI: 10.1086/667201
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/667201
Page Count: 26
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Recognition on the Surface of Madeline Anderson’s I Am Somebody
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Abstract

AbstractIn this essay, I analyze Madeline Anderson’s documentary about a successful strike by black, female hospital workers in Charleston, South Carolina. Realist documentaries are notoriously hard to read within the discipline of film studies, which has tended to privilege the excavation of latent ideological meanings rather than contend with the allegedly misleading surfaces of texts. Here I offer a version of what Sharon Marcus and Stephen Best call “surface reading” as a way of addressing three main themes: the political stakes of I Am Somebody, the legacy of its neglect by film scholars, and the conceptual possibilities opened up by its reconsideration.

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