MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Revisiting Barthes via Hooks
After re-reading "Postmodern Blackness," I like it more and it seems far more relevant, probably because I understood the terminology and ideological framework a tad better the second time around. As I began to understand Barthes comments more in his dead author article, I became interested in the ramifications of his position advocating for the divorcing of the author from the text. Hooks made more clear some of the ideas surrounding the interaction between the terms "author" and "authority" as they can apply to both mainstream and marginalized groups. By removing the "authority" of texts, there is the potential to allow them the same weight, importance and validity. The message of the text is permitted to stand alone without the qualifications of the author's context, which, I think Hooks is arguing, can allow critics to dismiss the argument. No longer would texts be read as, for example, the opinion of a black feminist, which must be biased and can only speak to the black feminist experience. While modern thinking tends to uphold mainstream authors based on their qualifications, it simultaneously qualifies the work of marginalized groups based on their marginalized status (i.e. "of course a feminist would write something like this. scoff, scoff"). Her argument for postmodernist discourses and their application to the black experience and identity is not necessarily to allow a text an openness of meaning, but rather to allow a body of work or a marginalized experience or an identity an openness of meanings. Postmodernism can serve to loosen the definitions and identifications of not only texts, but also genres.