Category: Recent Publications

Recent publications by faculty, students, and alumni.

[Book] Jean Halley – Horse Crazy: Girls and the Lives of Horses

Jean Halley  (Faculty)

Horse Crazy: Girls and the Lives of Horses (University of Georgia Press, 2019)

Horse Crazy explores the meaning behind the love between girls and horses. Jean O’Malley Halley, a self-professed “horse girl,” contends that this relationship and its cultural signifiers influence the manner in which young girls define their identity when it comes to gender. Halley examines how popular culture, including the “pony book” genre, uses horses to encourage conformity to gender norms but also insists that the loving relationship between a girl and a horse fundamentally challenges sexist and mainstream ideas of girlhood.

Horse Crazy looks at the relationships between girls and horses through the frameworks of Michel Foucault’s concepts of normalization and biopower, drawing conclusions about the way girls’ agency is both normalized and resistant to normalization. Segments of Halley’s own experiences with horses as a young girl, as well as experiences from the perspective of other girls, are sources for examination. “Horsey girls,” as she calls them, are girls who find a way to defy the expectations given to them by society-thinness, obsession with makeup and beauty, frailty-and gain the possibility of freedom in the process.

Drawing on Nicole Shukin’s uses of animal capital theories, Halley also explores the varied treatment of horses themselves as an example of the biopolitical use of nonhuman animals and the manipulation and exploitation of horse life. In so doing she engages with common ways we think and feel about animals and with the technologies of speciesism.

[Article] Michael W. Raphael – The Politics of Twilights: Notes on the Semiotics of Horizon Photography

Michael W. Raphael (PhD Candidate)

The Politics of Twilights: Notes on the Semiotics of Horizon Photography.” Visual Studies 33(4): 295-312.

Visual sociology is crucial for exploring the indexical meanings that thick description cannot capture within a cultural setting. This paper explores how such meanings are created within a subset of the domain of photography. Using data gathered over several years, I constructed the semiotic code ‘horizon’ photographers use when ‘in the field’ for photographing periods of twilight. This code explains the relevance of subject matter to the photograph’s aesthetics. Specifically, I detail how ‘the horizon’ communicates the potential for the photographer to ‘capture’ the index of a symbol that later permits the photographer culturally mark scenes with ‘light’. In doing so, the paper explains how photography is a means through which a given truth about a given culture is made intelligible, elaborating the relationship between cultural meaning, narrative and decision-making despite the increased automation of the means of production of photographs. This is done to examine how this process of cultural marking is changing and why the agency of ‘the photographer’ still matters for evaluating the cultural significance of the resulting photograph and for photography as a vital part of ethnographic research. This paper concludes with a commentary on the aesthetics of twilight as an allegorical reflection of society.

[Book] Alexandrea J. Ravenelle (Alum)

Alexandrea J. Ravenelle 
Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy
(University of California Press, 2019)

Choose your hours, choose your work, be your own boss, control your own income. Welcome to the sharing economy, a nebulous collection of online platforms and apps that promise to transcend capitalism. Supporters argue that the gig economy will reverse economic inequality, enhance worker rights, and bring entrepreneurship to the masses. But does it?

In Hustle and Gig, Alexandrea J. Ravenelle shares the personal stories of nearly eighty predominantly millennial workers from Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, and Kitchensurfing. Their stories underline the volatility of working in the gig economy: the autonomy these young workers expected has been usurped by the need to maintain algorithm-approved acceptance and response rates. The sharing economy upends generations of workplace protections such as worker safety; workplace protections around discrimination and sexual harassment; the right to unionize; and the right to redress for injuries. Discerning three types of gig economy workers—Success Stories, who have used the gig economy to create the life they want; Strugglers, who can’t make ends meet; and Strivers, who have stable jobs and use the sharing economy for extra cash—Ravenelle examines the costs, benefits, and societal impact of this new economic movement. Poignant and evocative, Hustle and Gig exposes how the gig economy is the millennial’s version of minimum-wage precarious work.

Ravenelle graduated in 2018 with a Ph.D. in sociology.

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