American Representations of Post-Communism: Television, by Andaluna Borcila

By Andaluna Borcila

With the televised occasions of 1989, territories of jap and relevant Europe that have been marked as impenetrable and inaccessible to the Western gaze exploded into visibility. because the narratives of the chilly struggle crumbled, new narratives emerged and new geographies have been produced on and via American tv. utilizing an understudied archive of yank information declares, and tracing their flashes and echoes via commute publications and narratives of go back written by way of jap European-Americans, this ebook explores American methods of seeing and mapping communism’s disintegration and the narratives articulated round post-communist websites and topics.

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For a contextualization, on multiple levels, of the transnational turn in American studies, a mapping of the transnational paradigm, and an analysis of the function of American exceptionalist fantasies in the “antiexceptionalist” discourse of transnational American studies, see Donald Pease’s “Introduction: Re-Mapping the Transnational Turn” in Fluck, Pease, and Rowe (2011). I have found Winfried Fluck’s (2007) critical engagement with the transnational turn in American studies most helpful. In responding to Emory Elliot’s 2006 presidential address to the American Studies Association, German Americanist Fluck problematized the embracing of the “transnational” in American studies discourse and the dominant directions of the “transnational turn” in American studies.

2. How to Watch the Berlin Wall: Staging the Spectral Encounter The coverage not only stages the event as a pleasurable event for an American audience; it also instructs or educates viewers in how to watch the Berlin Wall, reminding us that, as John Hartley (1992) has argued, television is both a pleasurable regime and a “pedagogic” one (117). The triangulation of gazes (the gaze of the Easterners, the gaze of the Western officials, and the televisual gaze) becomes very significant in guiding us how to watch the Berlin Wall, the fall of communism, ‘history happening,’ and television.

We have been swimming with the currents of history; come share the waters with us now . ” In its final minutes, the coverage establishes a lapse between the live-ness of the coverage and the event and a distance between news crew and viewers; as it invites viewers to both come and join, to see and listen, it also stages the distancing of those viewers from ‘history happening’ and the privileged proximity of the news reporter and of television to history as it is happening. The last image of this news show is the frozen image of the man hitting the wall, an image that, in effect, captures and monumentalizes the disintegrating Wall and the power of television to deliver this event to us.

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