How Michelle Obama Became the Most Beloved Black Woman in America: A Look at Our Forever FLOTUS Before “Becoming” with Ralina Joseph

This event was part of the

Beyond Borders, Across Boundaries: Black and LatinX Knowledge Formations speaker series

presented by

Mellon Intersections Group on Global Blackness and Latinx Identity

 

March 19, 2019 at 4:30pm, followed by book signing and reception in Ustler Hall Atrium

How, in the course of a few short months, did Michelle Obama journey from being the presidential candidate’s wife who much of the media dismissed as the reason that her husband wouldn’t be elected president, to being one of the most beloved First Ladies in American history? In tonight’s event Ralina L. Joseph will explore the idea that our Forever First Lady performed the magic trick of “strategic ambiguity,” a theory she proposes in her new book, Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity.

Ralina L. Joseph, associate professor of Communication, and adjunct associate professor of American Ethnic Studies and Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington, is also the founding director of the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity. Ralina is an expert on the communication of difference, or, more specifically, of how race, gender, class, and sexuality intersect with equity in our interpersonal and mediated worlds. Ralina’s first book, Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial (Duke University Press, 2013), critiques anti-Black racism in mixed-race African American representations in the decade leading up to Obama’s 2008 election. Her second book, Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity, examines Black women’s negotiation of the ostensibly “after” moment of racism and sexism (NYU Press, 2018). She is currently writing two books, Generation Mixed Goes to School (with Allison Briscoe-Smith, under contract with Teachers College Press of Columbia University), and Interrupting Privilege: A Field Guide (with Naheed G. Aaftaab).

This event was organized by the Mellon Intersections Group on Global Blackness and Latinx Identity with support from the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, George A. Smathers Libraries, Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, Center for Latin American Studies, and Club Creole.

This event was free and open to the public. For more information, contact: humanities-center@ufl.edu or Prof. Manoucheka Celeste (celeste@ufl.edu).