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Roxanne Howes

Undergraduate Major: English Language and Literature

Future Plans: Ph.D. in English Literature or Cultural Studies

Roxanne Howes

Roxanne Howes is the daughter of military veterans, born in Berlin, Germany and eventually settling in Orlando, FL. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Her passion lies in Ethnic literature, identity, and representation, but her interests also include women’s studies, gender and sexuality, cultural studies, film and media, and creative writing. Roxanne is currently working on an undergraduate HIM thesis concerning multiethnic identity within contemporary US literature with the inclusion of personal essay with the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Cecilia Rodriguez-Milanes. She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in English or Cultural Studies and start a career in academia as a research professor and writer.

Fear AMC: Multiculturalism and Representation in AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead

Conducted at the University of California, Irvine, Summer 2016

Mentors: Dr. Rodrigo Lazo, Department of English, University of California, Irvine

Abstract: This study focuses on multiethnic and multicultural representation within AMC’s globally popular television show, Fear the Walking Dead. Viewers of underrepresented and minority communities long for positive and normalized representations of themselves, rather than having one stereotypical token character to latch onto, in order to form strong, unique positive identities. Media creates images and controls ideologies. Therefore, popular media should represent those from all walks of life in order to avoid a homogenized world that promotes the top-down nature of institutional and social power groups. Despite well addressed issues within the world of media and racial/ethnic relations, there is a lack of effort among scholars on the documentation and close analysis of ethnicity and race within the most popular forms of media. This project analyzes the depiction of race and culture within a post-apocalyptic world (how do the makers of the show believe those of differing ethnic backgrounds will behave when society collapses?) by using comparative analysis between the first two seasons, the show’s script, as well as its predecessor (The Walking Dead). I will seek to decipher the message that is being conveyed by the diversity of the cast and how its viewers interpret that message. The purpose is to discover whether or not the representations are considered positive among viewers, along with supporting theoretical evidence on globalization, representation, media and culture as presented by leading scholars within the field, such as Arjun Appadurai, Tanner Mirrlees, and more. This analysis aims to contribute to the improvement and eventual elimination of racism within the media and be an influence on creating more opportunities for marginalized peoples while adding to the discussion of racial/ethnic relations within popular culture and the literary world.