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When Latina hips make/mark history: Music video in the “new” American studies

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As a Lebanese-origin native of the Colombian Caribbean, singer/songwriter Shakira's self-description as a combination of “quibbe crudo and platano frito” (“raw quibbe and fried plantain”) neatly reflects the trans-cultural aesthetic recipe upon which her artistic identity and media persona are based.1 Emphasizing the role of sexuality and movement in Shakira's recordings, music videos, and press coverage, I assert that Shakira's personal history, artistic production and media star text are of significance to the ongoing “worlding” of American and area studies. Grounded in the overarching concerns of feminist, media, and music criticism, this cross-media analysis questions the “commonsense” of ethno-racial identity, gender and sexuality in music video. In turn, I address the methodological and thematic gaps in existing scholarly approaches to gender, race, and sexuality in the genre, and ultimately argue for a more nuanced meta-disciplinary engagement with the location and politics of transnational studies within the Academy.

Keywords: American studies; Lationo/a studies; Shakira; ethnic studies; music video; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Latina/o Studies, Williams College, Williamstown, MA, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2008


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