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Race to Post examines the complex and varied negotiations of race and class in contemporary black popular culture from 1996 to the present. Examining a variety of texts, including rap music, novels, satirical performances, and new social media, I argue that these mediums reflect the obstacles to black empowerment and self-definition in this contemporary, 'post-racial' moment of American history. Specifically, I use rap music and African American satire to trouble black identity's political and economic capital in authenticating discourses of blackness. It begins from the recognition that as these media clear space for marginalized blacks to be seen and heard they also make black pain and "realness" commodities to be bartered and sold. I examine this contradiction through a Gramscian analysis of class and organic intellectualism. I argue that black popular culture exhibits the tensions blacks in postracial America currently face: how to be socially respected, responsible to their race, and "get paid." In the context of the current post-civil rights moment (post 9/11, post-Hurricane Katrina, and post-Obama), popular culture reflects the contradictory and ironic politics and economics of the black popular imagination.
Black Satire, Hip Hop, Organic Intellectualism, Postraciality
Date of Defense
May 14, 2013.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
David Ikard, Professor Directing Dissertation; Maxine Jones, University Representative; Maxine Montgomery, Committee Member; Leigh Edwards, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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