I was most interested about the implications of the death of the author that we discussed at the end of class. I agree with the criticism that by calling for the death of the author, minority groups are prevented from getting to be the author. As Battersby outlined, the artist as genius is a very male idea, and I find it problematic that white men (Barnes and Foucault) are saying that there is no need for an author. By doing this we are depriving all those who have not had the chance to be authors. The death of the author also signals a finite stopping point of the idea of the author, and allows no room for growth or change of the definition of the author. If we allow new and different voices to be authors, the idea and role of the author will also change.
I do think that strategic essentialism is a good way to change the definition of the author. If a large group of voices are not being heard, it is good to give those voices a platform to speak. I am aware of the danger of strategic essentialism perpetuation the idea of otherness in underrepresented groups, but I think the good outweighs the bad. I heard an example on a podcast about the cable channel FX, whose CEO prides himself on letting all the showrunners run their shows with no interference. This sounded like a great place to work as an artist. However, a study was done, and FX came in near last in the number of women and minority directors. This was not a conscious decision on any of the showrunners parts, but they were hiring their friends and colleagues, who happened to be mostly white men. As soon as people became aware of the issue and talking about it, more minorities and women were hired, whose voices could be heard. I think that the art world (as well as all other parts) will benefit from a greater diversity of authors, as well as more definitions of authors.