Consuming Stories: Kara Walker and the Imagining of American Race
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Consuming Stories considers Walker's sustained visual engagement with literary genres such as the romance novel, the neo-slave narrative, and the fairy tale and with internationally known stories including Roots, Beloved, and Uncle Tom's Cabin. Walker's interruption of these familiar works , along with her generative use of the familiar in unexpected and destabilizing ways, reveals the extent to which genre-based narrative conventions depend on specific representations of race, especially when aligned with power and desire. Breaking these implicit rules makes them visible-and, in turn, highlights viewers' reliance on them for narrative legibility. As this study reveals, Walker's engagement with narrative continues beyond her early silhouette work as she moves into media such as film, video, and sculpture. Ultimately, Consuming Stories shifts the critical conversation away from the visual legacy of historical racism toward the present-day role of the entertainment industry-and its consumers-in processes of racialization.
Hardback, 208 pages