American Fury

Essays on Moral Outrage in Culture and Politics


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About the Book

Moral outrage is one of the most compelling, complex, and powerful emotional responses. It is the affective currency that drives collective action in a democracy, where it can rally constituents, incentivize legislation, affect how we vote, and catalyze individual anger into righteous protests or mob rule. In recent years, outrage has bolstered extremism and political polarization, and it spurred thousands of self-prescribed “patriots” to storm the U.S. capitol. But it also gave birth to new social justice groups such as Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives, and what began as an outraged tweet ultimately grew into the global #MeToo movement.
This book offers the first interdisciplinary study of the myriad ways moral outrage is articulated, invoked, and mediated in contemporary U.S. society, from feminist and indigenous politics, climate activism, and school curriculum debates, to book banning, alt-right rhetoric, literature and entertainment venues. Setting its focus on the social dynamics and cultural effects of collective outrage, these timely essays underscore its vital function as a galvanizing force in identity politics, social change, policymaking and civic engagement.

About the Author(s)

Myra Mendible is a professor and co-founder of the English program at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, where she teaches courses in comparative literatures, critical theory, and cultural studies. Her articles have appeared in numerous national and international journals and books, and she is the editor of three previous essay collections and the author of a monograph.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Myra Mendible
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 237
Bibliographic Info: 5 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9362-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5168-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface: Letting It Out—Myra Mendible 1
Introduction: The Fickle Morality of Outrage—Myra Mendible 9

Section I: Philosophy, Politics and Public Policy

Hell Hath No Fury: Enraged and Enraging Women and the Fight for Proportional Representation—Bonnie Stabile 39

Rational Rage? Reclaiming Pathos from the ­­Alt-Right—Landon Frim 55

Pedagogy of the Privileged: Moral Outrage and the Denial of History—Ron Scapp 77

Hardening of the Heart: The Settler Colonial Politics of Mediated Outrage—Kaylen J. James 93

Outraged by Climate Change? ­­Eco-Anger and the Collective Movement for Climate Action—Samantha K. Stanley 105

Section II: Representation, Identity and Performance

Human Rights and Banned Books: Art Spiegelman’s Maus in an Era of Rising Antisemitism and White Nationalism—Alaina Kaus 121

No Inspection, No Outrage: Shifting Moral Cartographies in Edwidge Danticat’s “Without Inspection”—Delphine Gras 138

“Their ­­Wal-Mart polyester pants smell like tamales”: Chica Lit and the Neoliberal Politics of Latinx Social Mobility—Tace Hedrick 158

Drag Queen Story Hour and the Politics of Religious Outrage—Françoise Coste 172

Outrageous! Musings on Subversive Humor and Play Activism in The Red Hat Reader—Jenna Ann Altomonte, with artist Todd M. Rowan 185

No “singing about butts in Spanish”: American Outrage and Latina Performance at the 2020 Super Bowl—Frances Negrón-Muntaner 200

About the Contributors 221

Index 223