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American PietàsVisions of Race, Death, and the Maternal$
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Ruby C. Tapia

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816653102

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816653102.001.0001

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Commemorating Whiteness

Commemorating Whiteness

The Ghost of Diana in the U.S. Popular Press

(p.43) Chapter 2 Commemorating Whiteness
American Pietàs

Ruby C. Tapia

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter studies how the “official” and “commemorative” images of Diana Spencer invoke tropes of charity and sympathy to produce racialized mediations of history, memory, motherhood, and U.S. national identity. Drawing from cultural theory that establishes visual technologies of memory and forgetting as material forces, the chapter considers images of Diana appearing in “Collector’s Editions” of “American” popular magazines as People and Life to illuminate the visual scripts of race that define the relative social values of maternity and reproduction. It also identifies the visual production of the idealized notions of whiteness, motherhood, and the family, and suggests that they are coproduced and reinforced by different media forms and genres.

Keywords:   Diana Spencer, U.S. national identity, cultural theory, visual technologies, material forces, race, maternity, whiteness

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