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Mad Men: Ethnicity, Assimilation and Outsider Identity
February 27, 2022 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm PST
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In the third salon of this three part mini series on the TV show Mad Men, Vivek hosts a discussion about ethnicity, assimilation and whiteness in the show.
In describing the systems of race, class and power in America in the 60s, series creator Matthew Weiner has said “I’ve always said this is a show about becoming white. That’s the definition of success in America — becoming a WASP. A WASP male.”
Right from the pilot, the show explores the idea of assimilation on the lines of class, race and gender. Rachel and Don connect over being outsiders to this identity – Rachel along ethnic lines as a 2nd generation Jewish immigrant and Don along class lines as a poor, rural transplant into the upper echelons of New York City. The show explores what is both gained and lost through assimilation and how perhaps American Dream itself is a story of reinvention through wrestling with the past and sometimes forgetting its most painful parts. Moreover, this extends into the show’s exploration of the idea of being an outsider in general. Peggy’s entry into “a man’s world” and her assimilation into it is cited by Weiner as his favorite example of this. In this salon we will discuss and explore Mad Men’s layered commentary on ethnicity, assimilation, reinvention and and the outsider identity. Critics and fans of the show are welcome alike. Join us!
- Interview excerpt by Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men
- Why Mad Men is Really All About Being Jewish
- On The Simultaneous Visibility and Invisibility of Race In The Show
- Historian Barbara Fields on Racecraft and the historical invention of race in America and its class implications
Save the date:
This is part of a three part mini-series.
January 9th – Mad Men and Masculinity
January 30th – Man Men and The Art of The Pitch
Note: All ticket proceeds will be used to support the InterIntellect book fund
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