Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Rosemarie Garland Thomson
NYU Press, 1996 - Health & Fitness - 400 pages
6 Reviews

Giants. Midgets. Tribal non-Westerners. The very fat. The very thin. Hermaphrodites. Conjoined twins. The disabled. The very hirsute. In American history, all have shared the platform equally, as freaks, human oddities, their only commonality their assigned role of anomalous other to the gathered throngs. For the price of a ticket, freak shows offered spectators an icon of bodily otherness whose difference from them secured their own membership in a common American identity--by comparison ordinary, tractable, normal.

Rosemarie Thomson's groundbreaking anthology probes America's disposition toward the visually different. The book's essays fall into four main categories: historical explorations of American freak shows in the era of P.T. Barnum; the articulation of the freak in literary and textual discourses; contemporary relocations of freak shows; and theoretical analyses of freak culture. Essays address such diverse topics as American colonialism and public presentations of natives; laughing gas demonstrations in the 1840's; Shirley Temple and Tom Thumb; Todd Browning's landmark movie Freaks; bodybuilders as postmodern freaks; freaks in Star Trek; Michael Jackson's identification with the Elephant Man; and the modern talk show as a reconfiguration of the freak show. In her introduction, Thomson traces the freak show from antiquity to the modern period and explores the constitutive, political, and textual properties of such exhibits.

Freakeryis a fresh, insightful exploration of a heretofore neglected aspect of American mass culture.

  

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Review: Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body

User Review  - Farren - Goodreads

A++ would teach again Read full review

Review: Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body

User Review  - Collie - Goodreads

It's kind of startling how few (if any) of the contributers are disabled (and that fact shows through in the writing- some of the contributers are really patronizing in their attitudes). A lot of ... Read full review

Contents

THE CULTURAL CONSTRUCTION OF FREAKS
14
The Social Construction of Freaks
23
The Problem of
38
Freaks asat the Limit
55
The Exhibition of Human Oddities in
69
Charles Willson Peale as Early
82
P T Barnums Theatrical Selfhood and the NineteenthCentury Culture
97
Laughing Gas
108
The Politics and Commerce of Exhibiting Cultural
219
Tattooing and the Racial
234
Gender Imperialism
248
Tod Brownings Freaks
265
Freaks Gender and the Incorporation of History in
277
The Life and Loves of a SheDevil znA Nights at the
291
Teaching Freaks
302
The Dime Museum Freak Show Reconfigured as Talk Show
315

Farm Security Administration
121
The Strange Career of P T
139
Science and Freaks in Germany
158
Daisy and Violet Hilton the
173
Tom Thumb and Shirley Temple
185
Footlighting the Dark Continent
207
Extraterrestrialism and DeepSpace
327
Medical Documentaries and the Hyperrealization of
338
A Postmodern Freak Show
356
Michael Jacksons Grotesque Glory
368
Copyright

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Page 18 - David J. Rothman: The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971), and Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1980).

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About the author (1996)

Rosemarie Garland Thomson is Assistant Professor of English at Howard University.

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