Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv

Contents

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pp. v-v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Work on this book was supported through the generosity of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bellagio Conference and Study Center; the University of California Humanities Research Institute at University of California, Irvine; and the Division of Social Science at the University of ...

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Introduction: Strategies, Tactics, Moves

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pp. 1-10

In Norman Lear’s hit television show from the 1970s, All in the Family, there is a memorable moment when Edith—wife of the show’s lead character, Archie Bunker—quips that blacks certainly have “come a long way, on television.” Edith, and Norman Lear, may have been prescient. Twenty years later, in another televisual moment, Regina, the black ...

PART I: Strategies

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1. The New Conditions of Black Cultural Production

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pp. 13-31

At the start of the twenty-first century, it is clear that black intellectuals, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers, playwrights, and novelists are profoundly shaping the imagination of American culture. What may distinguish this moment is the recognition by the cultural dominant of the sheer influence and pervasiveness of black presence in mainstream ...

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2. Jazz Tradition, Institutional Formation, and Cultural Practice

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pp. 32-51

In 1991, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City inaugurated its jazz program and installed its first artistic director, trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis. This historic move, carried out by a major American cultural institution, signaled the emergence of a new period of visibility and legitimacy for jazz in the national culture. Lincoln Center’s ...

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3. The Jazz Left

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pp. 52-73

At the level of cultural and aesthetic politics, the jazz left offers a distinctly different, but no less legitimate, oppositional critique about the place of jazz and black creative music in the national culture.1 I deliberately contrast with the canon makers this distinct project and the cultural politics that ...

PART II: Tactics

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4. Where Have All the Black Shows Gone?

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pp. 77-88

Much about American network television changed between 1992, when I completed Watching Race, which ended with the close of the 1992 television season, and 1997, when I looked at the new season for an update on black progress.1 At the end of the 1992 season I was disappointed with the cancellation of several favorite programs, but I remained hopeful ...

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5. Television and the Politics of Difference

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pp. 89-113

The debate over diversity in American network television is, I contend, the expression of a much longer struggle over the production of a national imaginary and the role of commercial television in the construction of that imaginary.1 As it concerns governing and order, the integrative function of television is central to this process, as are underlying ...

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6. Different Dreams, Dreams of Difference

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pp. 114-119

In The Mask of Art: Breaking the Aesthetic Contract, film scholar Clyde Taylor examines the multiple positions, strategies, and effects of Western aesthetics on peoples of color throughout the world.1 Taylor’s focus is on “palace discourse,” those systems of thought and habit of mind emanating from the crystal palaces of Western power/knowledge (of ...

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7. Cultural Politics as Outrage(ous)

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pp. 120-130

In a chapter from Watching Race called “Irreverence, Sideshows, and Spectacles,” I grappled with the issue of stereotypes, irreverence, spectacle, and parody in network television representations of blacks.1 I argued that the Fox program In Living Color produced mixed results in terms of cultural politics. I took this position in large part because the ...

PART III: Moves

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8. Is (Cyber) Space the Place?

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pp. 133-147

Can black cultural production function as a critical counterknowledge? In the new information order and with the emerging new communications technology, what are the conditions of possibility for the production of such knowledge? In the next chapter, I argue that in the information society, music plays a pivotal role in the production of critical ...

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9. Music, Identity, and New Technology

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pp. 148-184

Herman “Sonny” Blunt, born in Birmingham, Alabama, adopted the name Sun Ra to signal that he was not of this (earthly) world. For Sun Ra “space was the place” of unlimited human possibility—love, respect, equality, and creativity.1 The stifling environment of life in the United States, particularly for an African American artist, aroused in Sun Ra ...

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Conclusion: Cultural Moves

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pp. 185-193

I’d like to end where I began: by reconsidering the distance between Edith Bunker’s declaration, in All in the Family, of black progress on television, Regina’s demand, in I’ll Fly Away, for recognition, and the notable influence of black cultural practices on America’s (and increasingly the world’s) commercial image culture. When they do appear, televisual ...

Notes

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pp. 195-223

Bibliography

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pp. 225-240

Index

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pp. 241-249