This research utilized material culture concepts, Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, and literary analysis methodologies to investigate the rhetorical and experiential legacies of the antebellum 'complex of sentimental principles' within the twentieth century North American culture industry. Drawing on Eric Lott's concepts 'love and theft' and the 'black mirror,' the author analyzed culture industry products like songs and novels, and argued that the terms of sentimental identification among North American whites came to depend on associative processes precedented by blackface minstrelsy. Whereas minstrels had once constituted the stage-form by appealing to sentimentalism, eventually, in the years after American Civil War and the marginalization of the minstrel show and sentimentalism from the realm of political discourse, the terms of sentimental identification came to depend on an appeal to the blackface mask. An experiential "Black Big other" emerged from the lingering object-agency of antebellum objects and tropes, that is, a perceived subjectivity from behind the agency of racialized objects which served to animate the white gaze. The study traced the experiential and rhetorical consequences of these developments throughout the history of the twentieth culture industry.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Daglaris, Zafirios, "Phantoms of Fantasy: Materiality, Enjoyment, and the Minstrel Legacy of Sentimentalism" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 31.