Stories of OprahThe Oprahfication of American Culture

Stories of OprahThe Oprahfication of American Culture

Trystan T. Cotten and Kimberly Springer

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781604734072

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


This is a collection of essays that explores Oprah Winfrey’s broad reach as an industry and media brand. Contributors analyze a number of topics touching on the ways in which Oprah’s cultural output shapes contemporary America. The book examines how Oprah has fashioned a persona—which emphasizes her rural, poverty-stricken roots over other factors—that helps her popularize her unique blend of New Age spirituality, neoliberal politics, and African American preaching. She packages New Age spirituality through the rhetoric of race, gender, and the black preacher tradition. Oprah’s Book Club has reshaped literary publishing, bringing Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, and Cormac McCarthy to a broad number of readers. Oprah’s brand extends worldwide through the internet. In this book, writers analyze her positions on teen sexuality, gender, race, and politics, and the impact of her confessional mode on mainstream television news. The book also addresses twenty-first-century issues, showing Oprah’s influence on how Americans and Europeans responded to 9/11, and how Harpo Productions created a deracialized film adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God in 2005. Throughout, it challenges readers to reflect on how Oprah the Industry has reshaped America’s culture, history, and politics.

Table of Contents

Front Matter


Kimberly Springer

Part I Oprah the Woman, Oprah the Empire

Part II Contesting the Oprah Experts

5 Chapter Five Oprah para Mujeres Chicanas

Adriana Katzew, and Lilia de Katzew

7 Chapter Seven Oprah Goes to Africa

Heather Laine Talley, and Monica J. Casper

Part III The Oprahfication of Media

8 Chapter Eight Oprah and the New News

Kathleen Dixon, and Kacie Jossart

End Matter