Dr Nathalie Weidhase


Lecturer in Media and Communication

Academic and research departments

Department of Sociology.

Biography

Areas of specialism

Popular Music; Celebrity Culture; Postfeminism; Politics and Gender

My qualifications

PhD Cultural Studies
Roehampton University

Affiliations and memberships

MeCCSA
MeCCSA Women’s Network Steering Committee member

Research

Research interests

My teaching

My publications

Publications

NATHALIE WEIDHASE (2021)The Feminist Politics of Meghan Markle: Brexit, Femininity and the Nation in Crisis, In: European Journal of Cultural Studies Sage Publishing

This article examines the relationship between femininity, popular feminism, and the monarchy in the UK in a time of national and political crisis. Since her entry into the royal family as Prince Harry’s fiancée in November 2017, Meghan Markle has been the subject of much hyped and often problematic media coverage. Celebrated as a feminist, Markle is seen as rejuvenating the British monarchy by injecting some much-needed diversity and progressive politics. Based on the analysis of UK broadsheet and tabloid coverage between 2016 and 2018, this article argues that her embodiment of royal femininity is part of an UK image revamp after a Brexit referendum campaign in 2016 steeped in imperial nostalgia, the aftermath of which saw a rise in reported hate crimes and loss of international reputation. However, her articulations of progressive racialised and feminised politics are equally considered a threat to the cohesion of the royal family, and by extension the nation. As such, Markle’s mediated royal femininity is overburdened with meaning from both ends of the political spectrum, and highlights the gendered dimensions of dominant Brexit discourses. This article emphasises popular media and culture as a terrain in which the ideological work of Brexit (and its resistance) is done.

NATHALIE WEIDHASE, (2020)‘Art’s in pop culture in me’: Posthuman performance and authorship in Lady Gaga’s Artpop (2013), In: Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture5(2-3)pp. 239-257 Intellect

Ten years after her eccentric entrance into the pop scene with ‘Just Dance’, Gaga’s image is now markedly less edgy, in part due to her current focus on her film and TV acting career which requires a different image. In her musical work, Gaga is known for referencing artists that came before her in her music and music videos, and she has previously pushed the assumed boundaries between pop and art. This bricolage of influences often gives rise to claims of inauthenticity where rapidly changing and subversive image has left critics questioning who the ‘real’ Lady Gaga is. Moving beyond limited and value-laden discourses of authenticity, we instead suggest that her performances exemplify a posthuman approach to art and/as subjectivity. In the posthuman view, one’s ‘self’ is not a singular, static, autonomous individual, but a subjectivity that is emergent; an entanglement between entities, both human and non-human. Posthuman theory consequently troubles dualistic binaries, such as those between male/female, self/other, subject/object and human/machine/animal. This allows for a critique of anthropocentric hierarchies, instead arguing for a rhizomatic acknowledgement of the different entities in the subjectivities that emerge. We suggest that Lady Gaga’s work on her 2013 album Artpop exemplifies this approach, as Gaga fashions her body to resemble artworks and wears visual references to (female) artists that came before her. She incorporates different objects, machines, animals and others into her performances, thereby embodying a posthuman subjectivity. This work therefore signifies a reconsideration of what it means to be an audio-visual-artist and challenges not only the sanctity of self, but also the Romantic model of the male artist and singer-songwriter which persists in much popular music media criticism. However, problematically anthropocentric approaches remain throughout via Gaga’s foregrounding of self, and her current return to more muted performance styles might be seen as indicative of the difficulties of living a posthuman life in a humanistic society and marketplace.

NATHALIE WEIDHASE (2021)Horrible White people: gender, genre, and television's precarious Whiteness, In: Ethnic and Racial Studiesahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)pp. 1-3 Routledge
(2015)Ageing Grace/Fully: Grace Jones and the Queering of the Diva Myth, In: Women, Celebrity and Cultures of Ageingpp. 97-111 Palgrave Macmillan UK

Grace Jones, the celebrated black singer and disco diva, released her comeback album Hurricane in 2008 after a 19-year musical hiatus that saw her making professional DJ appearances but ceasing to release any new recorded material. Hurricane, and the promotional live performances that followed, were met with critical acclaim and extensive media coverage largely focusing on Grace Jones’ supposedly ‘ageless’ body (Gardner, 2012), while neglecting the actual musical output that constituted her comeback. Throughout her career, Grace Jones has arguably queered a myriad of identity categories in her performances, including race, gender, sexuality and national identity (Guzman, 2010). Invoking the term ‘queer’ in both her status as a disco icon and as an identificatory figure for marginalised audiences, Jones has a long and pronounced history of unsettling and disrupting identity configurations such as gender, sexuality and race (Kershaw, 1997; Royster, 2012). Equally undisputed is her status as a (disco) diva (Lobato, 2007). But this chapter is concerned with the fusion between these two concepts, exploring how a particular queer diva ages in the spotlight. The diva has been identified as a potentially successful performance strategy for ageing, female, popular music performers (Jennings, 2012), and this chapter will explore the ways in which Grace Jones queers the concept of the diva during her comeback at the age of 60 through a queering of gender, race and sexuality. Through close analysis of the lyrical content of Hurricane (2008), the music video for the single ‘Williams Blood’ (2009) and a photo shoot with Chris Cunningham for Dazed & Confused magazine (2008), this chapter will explore the ways in which Jones’ comeback continues to present queer ‘lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone’s gender, of anyone’s sexuality aren’t made… to signify monolithically’ (Sedgwick, 1994: 8).

NATHALIE WEIDHASE (2015)'Beyoncé feminism' and the contestation of the black feminist body, In: Celebrity studies6(1)pp. 128-131 Routledge
NATHALIE WEIDHASE (2020)'Prince Harry Has Gone Over to the Dark Side’: Race, Royalty and US–UK Romance in Brexit Britain, In: Love across the Atlanticpp. 275-290 Edinburgh University Press
(2020)A Sign of the Times: Humorous Slogans and Imagery in Modern Day Political Protest, In: Resist! Protest Media and Popular Culture in the Brexit-Trump Erapp. 165-182 Rowman and Littlefield
(2021)Opinion – From Royalty to Rock Stars: Royal Celebrity and Contemporary Politics, In: E-International Relations E-International Relations
NATHALIE WEIDHASE (2019)Book Review: Adventures in Shondaland: Identity Politics and the Power of Representation, In: Critical Studies in Television: The International Journal of Television Studies14(4)pp. 535-537