Curious about George: Curious George, Cultural Icons, Colonialism, and Us Exceptionalism (Race) (Paperback)

Curious about George: Curious George, Cultural Icons, Colonialism, and Us Exceptionalism (Race) By Rae Lynn Schwartz-Dupre Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
1 on hand, as of Nov 29 8:04pm


In 1940, Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey built two bikes, packed what they could, and fled wartime Paris. Among the possessions they escaped with was a manuscript that would later become one of the most celebrated books in children's literature--Curious George. Since his debut in 1941, the mischievous icon has only grown in popularity. After being captured in Africa by the Man in the Yellow Hat and taken to live in the big city's zoo, Curious George became a symbol of curiosity, adventure, and exploration. In Curious about George: Curious George, Cultural Icons, Colonialism, and US Exceptionalism, author Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre argues that the beloved character also performs within a narrative of racism, colonialism, and heroism.

Using theories of colonial and rhetorical studies to explain why cultural icons like Curious George are able to avoid criticism, Schwartz-DuPre investigates the ways these characters operate as capacious figures, embodying and circulating the narratives that construct them, and effectively argues that discourses about George provide a rich training ground for children to learn US citizenship and become innocent supporters of colonial American exceptionalism. By drawing on postcolonial theory, children's criticisms, science and technology studies, and nostalgia, Schwartz-DuPre's critical reading explains the dismissal of the monkey's 1941 abduction from Africa and enslavement in the US, described in the first book, by illuminating two powerful roles he currently holds: essential STEM ambassador at a time when science and technology is central to global competitiveness and as a World War II refugee who offers a "deficient" version of the Holocaust while performing model US immigrant. Curious George's twin heroic roles highlight racist science and an Americanized Holocaust narrative. By situating George as a representation of enslaved Africans and Holocaust refugees, Curious about George illuminates the danger of contemporary zero-sum identity politics, the colonization of marginalized identities, and racist knowledge production. Importantly, it demonstrates the ways in which popular culture can be harnessed both to promote colonial benevolence and to present possibilities for resistance.

About the Author

Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre is professor of communication studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Western Washington University. She is editor of Communicating Colonialism: Readings on Postcolonial Theory(s) and Communication. Her work has appeared in Feminist Media Studies, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Textual Practice, and Communication, Culture & Critique.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781496837349
ISBN-10: 1496837347
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication Date: December 1st, 2021
Pages: 228
Language: English
Series: Race