Duke University Symposium Will Discuss Shonda Rhimes’ TV Legacy

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Shonda Rhimes is dominating the ABC’s primetime line-up, and a symposium at Duke University will discuss her legacy in terms of gender, sexuality, and race on television.

Rhimes is the executive producer of ABC’s Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How to Get Away with Murder. In addition to two Emmy nominations, a PGA Award, and two WGA Awards, she has been honored by GLAAD and the NAACP. She also received the Directors Guild of America’s Diversity Award in 2014 for providing employment opportunities to women and minorities, and when she was criticized for the gay sex scenes on her shows and called an “Angry Black Woman” by the New York Times, she responded perfectly.

The symposium will examine her shows, how they fit into a larger media landscape, and how they are changing that landscape.

Titled “ShondaLand, the Symposium,” it will bring together female scholars from various fields—law, history, cultural studies, women’s studies, gender and sexuality studies, black diaspora studies, and media studies—to talk about the implications of what Rhimes has done.

After putting on a watch party, which will consist of the season premieres of all three ABC shows, the next day will debut a panel titled “I Woke Up Like This: Desire & Respectability in ShondaLand,” which will look at “black women and desire, and how respectability might stifle sexuality.”

A second panel—”You Gotta Testify Because the Booty Don’t Lie: The (Il)Legality of Black Womanhood”—will then “examine the ways black women’s bodies are, and are not, protected by the law and how women, in the context of ShondaLand, might be emboldened to challenge the status quo,” according to the release.

“Shondaland, the Symposium” will be January 29 and 30. It is free to the public, so television buffs near Duke University should mark it on their calendars. She is one of the most powerful producers working in TV right now, and with Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating, she is changing television, one complicated heroine at a time.

Source: Entertainment Weekly