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Title:Jacqueline Kennedy and the politics of popularity
Author(s):Travers, Courtney Caudle
Director of Research:Murphy, John
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Murphy, John
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Finnegan, Cara A.; O'Gorman, Ned; Greenhill, Jennifer; Gill, Pat
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Jacqueline Kennedy
First Ladies
Abstract:Although her role as first lady marked the real beginning of the American public’s fascination with her, Jacqueline Kennedy’s celebrity status endured throughout her life. Dozens of books have sought to chronicle that mystique, hail her style, and commend her contribution to the youthful persona of the Kennedy administration. She seems to be an object ripe for rhetorical study; yet, for many communication scholars, Kennedy’s cultural iconicity diminishes her legacy as First Lady, and she remains an exemplar of political passivity. Her influence on the American public’s cultural and political imagination, however, demonstrates a need for scholars to assess with greater depth her development from First Lady to American icon in the early 1960s. Thus, this dissertation focuses on three case studies that analyze Jacqueline Kennedy’s image across different media: fashion spreads in Vogue magazine and Harper’s Bazaar published immediately after the inauguration in 1961; her televised tour of the White House broadcast in February 1962; and Andy Warhol’s 1964 Jackie prints, which drew from her construction of the Camelot myth after JFK’s funeral. These case studies seek to show how “icon” becomes an inventional and conceptual resource for the role of a modern first lady and how Kennedy’s shift to public icon in her own right (after and outside of her position as first lady) was mediated in nuanced ways that both reflected early Cold War (suburban) culture and shaped the larger institutional discourses of which she was part.
Issue Date:2015-04-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Courtney Travers
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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