The “Reddening” of the X-Men : Mutantcy, Whiteness, and the Erasure of Southern History in Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men (1975–1991)

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The “Reddening” of the X-Men : Mutantcy, Whiteness, and the Erasure of Southern History in Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men (1975–1991)

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Title The “Reddening” of the X-Men : Mutantcy, Whiteness, and the Erasure of Southern History in Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men (1975–1991)
Author Lund, Martin
Date 2019
English abstract
Mutantcy, the central metaphor of the X-Men franchise, has been many things to many people over the years: a “stand-in” for blackness, Jewishness, homosexuality, disability, and other forms of “difference” that have suffered marginalization and violence historically and in the present. At the same time, readers have been invited to inhabit this Otherness as their own, even though their experience is different, leading to the curious situation that X-Men comics uphold oppressive discursive relations even as they claim to fight them. Taking this duality as a point of departure, this paper discusses Rogue, Cannonball, and Gambit, three Southern mutants introduced by Chris Claremont (writer of X-Men/Uncanny X-Men 1975–1991) in relation to the so-called “reddening” of America in order to illustrate three points: 1) it seeks to further our understanding of the impact of the new interest in and attention paid to the South in the 1970s and onward on superhero comics; 2) it continues my ongoing work on re-framing the academic discussion about X-Men comics by further illustrating how broad, fluid, and contradictory the concept of mutantcy is; and 3) it aims to build on the growing body of work that examines the centrality of whiteness as a guiding concept in the superhero genre. Central to the paper will be the juxtaposition of the axiomatic understanding of the X-Men as having been created as a Civil Rights allegory and that the mutant metaphor is a symbol of Otherness with the inclusion of white Southern characters with seemingly no acknowledgment of how these histories clash. Thus, my paper argues that the “reddening” of the X-Men, limited though it may have been, celebrated the white South without taking into consideration the racial history of the South, a history that would have been at the center of a discussion of Southern mutantcy if blackness or racial identity had truly been at the heart of the mutant metaphor.
Conference
Southern Disruptions (Southern Studies Forum Conference) (April 3-5, 2019 : Odense, Denmark)
Publisher University of Southern Denmark, Odense
Host/Issue The Southern Studies Forum Conference : Southern Disruptions;
Language eng (iso)
Subject Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/28480 Permalink to this page
Link https://www.conferencemanager.dk/SSF/... (external link to related web page)
Link to publication in DiVA Find this research publication in DiVA.
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