I am studying the cultural production of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a prisoner in Pennsylvania and a prolific writer. Cultural production has two senses here; first, it refers to the cultural artifacts, such as writings and audio recordings, produced by Abu-Jamal while incarcerated since the early 1980s. Second, it refers to the many ways in which Abu-Jamal has been produced as a cultural icon for certain political causes, especially online. Combining theoretical constructs from critical literary studies, communication, cultural history, and media studies, I examine production and its limits, across the media of print, radio, and the internet.
Also, I made a page on my CCT portfolio to house (and back up) my work over the spring.
lit review – draft, includes working annotated bibliography. download as PDF
I am studying the work of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist, activist, and death row inmate. I want to find out how it has been censored in three different mediations: in print, on the radio, and online. I am interested in what the conditions of censorship were for each of those forms. Since these conditions include interpersonal, systematic, and internalized practices, I hope to show my reader that censorship is a complex system, with technological and social factors. This means that a change in one part of this system can have profound effects on the structure of social relations at large.
I am tracing the representation of one cultural object through three distinct mediations. (I have not yet picked this object out with confidence, but the three media will probably be something like print, film/performance, and digitalization.) I want to find out the conditions of its censorship in each of these forms. Such conditions may have elements which remain constant, such as its content or structure, while others may change depending on that medium, like the political or economic forces (and actors) which contribute to its proscription. Studying this object should help my reader understand the potential uses and effects of banned media in changing the conditions under which censorship is possible.
I am studying banned, censored, prohibited, proscribed, suppressed, and destroyed works of print, television, film, music, visual art, and digital media. I wish to describe the conditions under which censorship is possible. This would include both internal conditions such as sexual, violent, political, drug-related, blasphemous, or otherwise profane content. It would also include external conditions such as institutional, political, religious, sociocultural, psychological, and economic factors. To manage this descriptive problem, I would divide the research into three broad areas of discussion: books and printed media; visual and aural media; digital media. Finally, I plan to explore the uses and effects of censored media, as objects in the material world.
I am tracing banned media, especially books, movies, and websites, because I want to know the internal and external conditions of their proscription, and so that my reader might understand how these banned media can affect the conditions that led to their censorship.