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Approaching Transnational America in Performance

Edited By Birgit M. Bauridl and Pia Wiegmink

The volume is uniquely located at the interdisciplinary crossroads of Performance Studies and transnational American Studies. As both a method and an object of study, performance deepens our understanding of transnational phenomena and America’s position in the world. The thirteen original contributions make use of the field’s vast potential and critically explore a wide array of cultural, political, social, and aesthetic performances on and off the stage. They scrutinize transnational trajectories and address issues central to the American Studies agenda such as representation, power, (ethnic and gender) identities, social mobility, and national imaginaries. As an American Studies endeavor, the volume highlights the cultural, political, and (inter)disciplinary implications of performance.

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Epic (and not-so Epic) Meal Times: Gender Performance in YouTube Cooking Shows (Katharina Vester)


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Katharina Vester

Epic (and not-so Epic) Meal Times: Gender Performance in YouTube Cooking Shows

Abstract: Social media present an opportunity to decentralize hegemonic Western notions of identity as they facilitate space for alternative performances of identities. This article explores the gender performances in YouTube cooking shows, discussing YouTube’s progressive potential as well as its limits.

Social Media, living off their pronounced interactivity and user-generated content, offer a promise of greater democratization of knowledge (Peters and Fitzsimons 16). Social media present new options for the production of pop culture as well as the inclusion of producers in locations that traditionally were marginalized (be they rural areas or the Global South). This decenters how content was traditionally produced and published. By facilitating the consumption as well as creation of popular culture and the production of knowledge on a global level, social media create the opportunity for a transnational space in which not only the binary notion of producer and consumer is challenged but also the idea of national media and national audiences.

While initially text-centered, the 2.0 revolution turned visual in the mid-2000s when services such as Flickr (2004) and YouTube (2005) began to provide global, easily accessible platforms to store and share photos and videos. Jean Burgess and Joshua Green claim that YouTube is “a site of participatory culture” enabling “ordinary citizens” to make themselves heard (75). YouTube, now a Google subsidiary, was founded and operates out of the...

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