I am delighted to say that I will be presenting my paper on “Netflix’ Post-Racial Utopias: Diversity, Globalization, and Neoliberalism in Sense8 and The Umbrella Academy” at the 2019 MPCA/ACA Conference (October 10-13, 2019 in Cincinnati, OH).
The recent Netflix originals Sense8 (2015-18) and The Umbrella Academy (2019) present strikingly similar utopias of post-racial queer communities. Both feature a diverse ensemble of characters with supernatural abilities born on the exact same day in different parts of the world. The shows were embraced by their audiences for their progressive representation of multiracial casts and their inclusion of canonically queer characters. However, in this presentation I argue that both Sense8 and The Umbrella Academy co-opt the political ideals of “queerness” and “diversity” for a neoliberal vision of globalization. The series prioritize Western notions of multiculturalism and sexual liberation at the expense of critical discourses on racial, cultural, and economic inequity. Ultimately, I argue that both series can be read as fictional manifestations of Netflix’ business strategy: the expansion of a globalized corporate network carried by global communities of affinity.
WRFI staff member Ke Ouyang attended the conference From Cell to Cell: The Prison in Television and Performance on October 29th held by the Cornell Performing and Media Arts department that I co-organized. Following the conference, she produced this news feature on the topic which includes many of the conference participants.
Listen to the interview on the WRFI website here.
From Cell to Cell: The Prison in Television and Performance is a one-day conference gathering scholars, artists, and activists to explore the intersections between theatre and performance-based prison work, especially in relation to different forms of activism, and televisual representations of incarceration. This free and public event will begin at 10:00 am in the Film Forum of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts at Cornell University on October 29, 2016. It is coordinated by Nick Fesette, Kriszta Pozsonyi, and Hannah Mueller. The facebook page for the event is here.
My essay “Between Crossbow and Ball Gown, East and West: Class and Gender in the Cult Film Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři Oříšky Pro Popelku/Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel)” has appeared in the anthology Television Beyond and Across the Iron Curtain, edited by Kirsten Bönker, Julia Obertreis and Sven Grampp. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.
See here for more information, including table of contents and reading sample.