Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

A life in the struggle can be a life of disappointment. Victories are rare, and defeats are regular occurrences. Sometimes allies turn out not to be allies, and friends turn out not to be friends. But a life in the struggle can also be a life of serene satisfaction. ...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xx

I stumbled into American studies the way most people do, by accident. There were no American studies programs on the campuses where I took my undergraduate and graduate courses. In retrospect, I now realize that I was assigned books crucial to the American studies tradition in my classes, but I never identified them as such. ...

Part I. American Studies and Social Movements

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1. In the Midnight Hour: American Studies in a Moment of Danger

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pp. 3-30

Senegalese singer Baaba Maal has a theory about midnight. Acknowledging that others view the middle of the night with trepidation and dread, that they think of it as the time when despair reigns and a new dawn is very hard to see, Maal nonetheless encourages us to embrace the midnight hour. ...

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2. Sent for You Yesterday, Here You Come Today: Who Needs the Thirties?

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pp. 31-56

At the first International Conference on Popular Music Research in 1981, one of the world’s most distinguished musicologists, Charles Hamm, began his presentation with a startling admission. Gesturing toward the elusiveness of the term “popular music” and acknowledging the difficulty of identifying exactly what makes any particular piece of music “popular,” ...

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3. Dancing in the Dark: Who Needs the Sixties?

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pp. 57-82

In an eloquent and moving reminiscence about the 1960s, Marshall Berman recalls that decade as a time that produced new kinds of spaces. For Berman, civil rights and antiwar demonstrations created a new kind of public life that brought to “many of us an ease and confidence in public spaces that we had never had before, and never expected to have at all.”1 ...

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4. Listening to Learn and Learning to Listen: Who Needs the Eighties?

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pp. 83-114

American studies scholars today face a culture characterized both by continuity with the cultures that emerged during the Age of the CIO and the Age of the Civil Rights Movement and by dramatic ruptures from them. During the 1970s and 1980s, conservatives in the United States fashioned a powerful coalition that united executives from multinational corporations, ...

Part II. Race, Culture, and Collective Struggle

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5. Like Crabs in a Barrel: Why Interethnic Anti-Racism Matters Now

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pp. 117-138

In places near the ocean where merchants sell live crabs, they display their wares in open barrels without tops. When the crabs try to escape by climbing up the sides of the barrel they always fail. As soon as one starts to climb up, the others who are also trying to escape pull it back down. ...

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6. The Lion and the Spider: Mapping Sexuality, Space, and Politics in Miami Music

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pp. 139-168

Diverse ethnic, racial, regional, and national traditions come together in Miami, and they inflect the city’s musical culture with a dazzling array of distinctive styles, figures, and forms. As a key crossroads for trade between the United States and Latin America, and as a magnet for migration from all over the hemisphere, ...

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7. Not Just Another Social Movement: Poster Art and the Movimiento Chicano

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pp. 169-184

Early in January 2001, the University Art Museum at the University of California–Santa Barbara opened the exhibition “Just Another Poster,” celebrating thirty years of Chicano poster art. The posters on display revealed a hidden history of the Chicano movement. ...

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8. As Unmarked as Their Place in History: Genre Anxiety and Race in Seventies Cinema

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pp. 185-210

Generic pleasures are familiar pleasures. Genre conventions encourage the repetition, reconfiguration, and renewal of familiar forms in order to cultivate audience investment and engagement. Created mostly for the convenience of marketers anxious to predict exact sales figures by selling familiar products to clearly identifiable audiences, genres also have ideological effects. ...

Part III. Facing Up to What’s Killing You

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9. “Facing Up to What’s Killing You”: Urban Art and the New Social Movements

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pp. 213-234

In Toni Cade Bambara’s story “The Organizer’s Wife,” members of a radical commune compress their beliefs into a simple slogan emblazoned across the front of a mural —“Face Up to What’s Killing You.”1 The indecent social order of our own day renders the urgent anxiety encapsulated in that slogan relevant to grassroots cultural creation all across the globe. ...

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10. In the Sweet Buy and Buy: Consumer Culture and American Studies

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pp. 235-270

During the fall semester of the 2000–2001 academic year, Native American students at San Diego State University mobilized against their school’s use of the nickname Aztecs for university athletic teams and against the symbolism encoded in the school mascot—Monty Montezuma, a half-naked warrior in battle regalia. ...

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11. Taking Positions and the War of Position: The Politics of Academia

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pp. 271-292

It is perhaps a measure of the inescapable irony of our time that the ideas of Antonio Gramsci have gained popularity among scholars largely as a means of explaining the futility of efforts to change past and present capitalist societies. Above all else, Gramsci was a revolutionary strategist, an individual who instructed others to temper their “pessimism of the intellect” ...

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12. Don’t Cry for Me, Ike and Tina: American Studies at the Crossroads

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pp. 293-316

On a December night in 1992, I sat awake all night on board a jetliner traveling to Frankfurt, Germany. The crew kept the cabin lights dim for most of the flight. Nearly everyone else seemed to be sleeping, but I sat up straight in my seat with my eyes wide open. Images, ideas, and arguments raced through my mind, making it impossible for me to sleep. ...

Notes

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pp. 317-352

Permissions

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pp. 353-354

Index

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pp. 355-384