Contents

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1. From Chattel to Intellectual Property: Legal Foundations of African American Cultural Critique

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pp. 1-23

The U.S. Postal Service has issued over 150 stamps of African Americans.From Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to Malcolm X and Charlie Parker, the images of African American leaders, musicians, athletes, scientists, and business leaders have been captured on stamps of all sizes and denominations. The watershed year for this representational emphasis is...

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2. Critical Race Theory, Signifyin’, and Cultural Ownership

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pp. 24-41

By the 1980s, Civil Rights–era strategies and reasoning no longer could respond effectively to evolving forms of racism. The impediments to equal-ity and freedom had been altered from the physical violence of Bull Con-nor to the representational violence of the Reagan era. The post–Civil Rights era transformed the grammar and syntax of racism, racialization,...

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3. Defining Hip-Hop Aesthetics

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pp. 42-67

Scholars have long relied on musical styles to describe, de‹ne, and sym-bolize African American cultural production. Gospel, blues, jazz, soul, andnow hip-hop have come to represent how both dominant culture and aca-demics view and analyze African American life. The primacy of musicwithin African American cultural criticism can be traced back at least to...

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4. Claiming Ownership in the Post–Civil Rights Era

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pp. 68-98

The origins of hip-hop can be traced to the late 1960s in Jamaica, but the music began capturing national attention during the 1980s.1 During hip-hop’s early years, Ronald Reagan’s election deepened existing cultural divides and furthered the “culture wars” that dominated the attention of African American activists, intellectuals, writers, musicians, artists, and politicians....

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5. “Fair Use” and the Circulation of Racialized Texts

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pp. 99-138

In his groundbreaking Harvard Law Review article examining post–Civil Rights era Supreme Court decisions, Derrick Bell challenges the normative assumptions of legal discourse.1 Anticipating concerns articulated by participants from the first CRT workshop, Bell predicts that CLS’s deconstruction of rights discourse will prove insuficient to challenge the racism...

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6. “Transformative Uses”: Parody and Memory

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pp. 139-165

Many scholars and activists have concluded that Civil Rights era reforms only affected a partial transformation of the American political, economical, and social structure. Recent multiculturalist and CRT activism seeks to emphasize culture as a key component in the continued fight for social justice...

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7. From Invisibility to Erasure? The Consequences of Hip-Hop Aesthetics

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pp. 166-187

In Invisible Man (1952), Ralph Ellison depicted the existential angst of his nameless protagonist who slowly comes to realize that he is invisible to whites. Through this novel, Ellison criticized existing social, cultural, political, legal, and economic discourses for failing to recognize African American subjectivity. In the novel’s conclusion, the hero contemplates the...

Notes

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pp. 189-208

Bibliography

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pp. 209-226

Index

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pp. 227-236