The winner of the 2015-16 Jennifer and Eric Spiegel Book Award competition
Madeline Denison Budny has been granted this award for essay:
“Did I Fall Asleep?” Interpellation and Radical Subjectivity in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse
Madeline's essay looks at Joss Whedon's 2009-10 television show Dollhouse, which tells the story of experiments done by a fictional corporation on memory and the human brain. In the show, wealthy individuals commission the Dollhouse, a subset of this corporation, to upload constructed personalities into the minds of volunteers whose own personalities have been removed and stored for a five-year period. Throughout the series’ two seasons, Dollhouse draws direct comparisons between the construction of personalities and the influence of market capitalism on identity. Using Louis Althusser’s theory of interpellation, Madeline's essay demonstrates that Dollhouse critiques this influence by juxtaposing it with literal brainwashing and by affirming a process of radical subject formation, wherein identity is created external to the interpellative processes of consumption and media.