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2009 - International Communication Association Pages: 21 pages || Words: 5959 words || 
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1. Rodriguez, Mario. "Agency Unshackled: The Origin of ‘Agency’ in Sociology, Identity, and Text" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott, Chicago, IL, May 20, 2009 Online <PDF>. 2019-04-18 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p301095_index.html>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: What happens when agency becomes unshackled from identity? Who or what can have agency? As a response to the crisis of agency in media, this study is an exploration of agency as traced through a quick history of sociology. We begin with Althusser, however, it could be argued that there are proto-forms of agency in the work of Marx and Durkheim, as well as that of Gabriel Tarde (1888). Althusser’s notions of structure and agency also greatly influenced Bourdieu’s concept of the habitus. Later, Foucault described subjectivity in a tug-of-war with ubiquitous power. Thus, I trace the progress of agency as it emerges in relation to Bourdieu’s habitus and Foucault’s discourse. Judith Butler’s theory of performativity is also conceived as a radical form of agency. Extending the dislocation of agency and identity further, however, I explore the role of uncommodifiable anger (Artaud), and the breakdown of the individual voice in the work of Kierkegaard—the emergence of a “demonic writing machine” (Hodge, 2000)—in destroying identity. This broaches the question of text as agent divorced from identity. Can this question be reconciled with reference to the agency of objects in Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2005)—companies, computer networks and texts themselves? How does Actor Network Theory relate to Rose’s (2007) technologies of government? How does the agency of non-humans compare to that of the cyborg (Haraway, 1989)? The discussion comes full circle to Tarde and the fact that he considered the problem of unshackled agency a century ago.

2013 - 37th Annual National Council for Black Studies Words: 109 words || 
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2. Banton, Arthur. "Unshackling the cost of history: Can Hollywood make motion pictures about slavery?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 37th Annual National Council for Black Studies, The Westin Hotel - Downtown, Indianapolis, ID, Mar 13, 2013 <Not Available>. 2019-04-18 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p648471_index.html>
Publication Type: Panelist Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Django Unchained, a spaghetti western-inspired film set in the antebellum South, has been a lightning rod of controversy for its extended use of racial epithets and the perception that it trivializes slavery. In this paper, I argue the costs of making a film about slavery in the United States is a very complicated endeavor wrought with challenges that must be privy to the financial, creative, and receptive sensibilities of the marketplace just to make it out of the editing room. High-profile films such as Amistad, Beloved, and Django Unchained in which slavery served as the main or supplemental narrative will be utilized for this analysis.

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