This book fills a significant gap in the critical conversation on race in media by extending interrogations of racial colorblindness in American television to the industrial practices that shape what we see on screen. Specifically, it frames the practice of colorblind casting as a potent lens for examining the interdependence of 21st century post-racial politics and popular culture. Applying a ‘production as culture’ approach to a series of casting case studies from American primetime dramatic television, including ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Kristen Warner complicates our understanding of the cultural processes that inform casting and expounds the aesthetic and pragmatic industrial viewpoints that perpetuate limiting or downright exclusionary hiring norms. She also examines the material effects of actors of color who knowingly participate in this system and justify their limited roles as a consequence of employment, and finally speculates on what alternatives, if any, are available to correct these practices. Warner’s insights are a valuable addition to scholarship in media industry studies, critical race theory, ethnic studies, and audience reception, and will also appeal to those with a general interest in race in popular culture.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Casting as Cultural Production 2. "I’m glad no one was hung up on the race thing": Grey’s Anatomy and the Innovation of Blindcasting in a Post-Racial Era 3. "It’s Tough Being Different": The Pitfalls of Colorblindness in The CW’s The Vampire Diaries 4. Is There Hope? Alternatives to Colorblind Casting Conclusion: Not Quite Catching Shadows
Kristen Warner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication and Film at The University of Alabama. Her research interests are centered at the juxtaposition of televisual racial representation and its place within the media industries, particularly within the practice of casting. Warner’s work can be found in publications such as Television and New Media and Camera Obscura.