Monique Rooney on Beyoncé’s Lemonade

Please join us for the first CuSPP weekly seminar of 2018!

Beyoncé’s Lemonade (2016) as intermedial middlebrow

Thursday 8 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

Prevailing accounts of middlebrow as ‘reception practice’ create difficulties for tracking middlebrow across ‘borders’ and raise ‘issues such as audience and address, genre and authorship and legibility and universality’ (Galt and Schoonover). Closely reading Beyoncé’s Lemonade, this paper attends to the artist’s role as go‐between in the context of  the diverse media that her film both incorporates and re‐enacts. Elucidating how its modes of address and intermedial forms straddle race, gender and sexual categories, I will read Beyoncé’s film in conjunction with debates about middlebrow and the politics of African‐American women’s cultural production. Challenging the routine consignment of middlebrow orientation to a purely bourgeois aesthetics and politics, this paper reads Beyoncé as an intermediary figure and Lemonade as intermedia to argue that its modes and forms work to summon an ‘everwidening community’ (Vernallis).

Monique Rooney is a senior lecturer in the English, Film and Drama Program, ANU. She has published widely on American and Australian film, television and literature. Living Screens: Melodrama and Plasticity in Contemporary Film and Television was published, as part of Rowman and Littlefield International’s ‘Disruptions’ series, in 2015. She is currently co‐editing a special ‘Queer Objects’ issue of Angelaki, which includes her essay ‘Queer Objects and Intermedial Timepieces: Reading S‐Town (2017)’.


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