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From Kung Fu to Hip Hop

Globalization, Revolution, and Popular Culture

M. T. Kato

Publication Year: 2007

From Kung Fu to Hip Hop looks at the revolutionary potential of popular culture in the sociohistorical context of globalization. Author M. T. Kato examines Bruce Lee’s movies, the countercultural aesthetics of Jimi Hendrix, and the autonomy of the hip hop nation to reveal the emerging revolutionary paradigm in popular culture. The analysis is contextualized in a discussion of social movements from the popular struggle against neoimperialism in Asia, to the antiglobalization movements in the Third World, and to the global popular alliances for the reconstruction of an alternative world. Kato presents popular cultural revolution as a mirror image of decolonization struggles in an era of globalization, where progressive artistic expressions are aligned with new modes of subjectivity and collective identity.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series, Explorations in Postcolonial Studies


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Front Matter

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

This book is inspired by the ongoing decolonization struggle of Kanaka Maoli (which means “true human being” in the Hawaiian language) or Native Hawaiians. During my academic residence in Hawai‘i, my involvement in campus and community activism led me to the frontline of Kanaka Maoli nonviolent struggles to protect their cultural...

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INTRODUCTION: On Popular Cultural Revolution

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pp. 1-8

“If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be In Your Revolution.” This quote attributed to Emma Goldman, circulates as “buttons, posters, banners, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and in books and articles”1 in the sphere of cultural commodities, quite similar to the circulation of the popular cultural icons. According to Alix Kates Shulman, the famous quote is indeed a result...

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1. Kung Fu Cultural Revolutionand Japanese Imperialism

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pp. 9-38

With the power of hindsight, the proclamation of a popular cultural revolution, which swept the world from Hong Kong, can be traced back to Bruce Lee’s statement on gung fu (Cantonese spelling of kung fu) made in 1965 when the term was virtually unknown to the rest of the world....

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2. Burning Asia: Bruce Lee’s Kinetic Narrative of Decolonization

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pp. 39-70

In no other kung fu film, as most critics of the genre would agree, did a main character display such an intense outburst of emotion as did Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury. Lee as Chen Zhen reenacts the wrath of a Chinese youth whose nation and people are in peril under foreign occupation by channeling the existential truth of the character. Without Lee’s emotional expression, the social and historical realism...

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3. Mutiny in the Global Village: Bruce Lee Meets Jimi Hendrix

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pp. 71-112

While the countdown to the end of the millennium was feeding popular imagination with the possibility of global catastrophe, smoke and tear gas rose in Seattle where the battle over the legitimacy of global capitalism took place. The home of Microsoft and Boeing, Seattle hosted the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a formidable supra-governmental vanguard for transnational corporate power....

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4. Enter the Dragon, Power, and Subversion in the World of Transnational Capital

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pp. 113-170

Robert Clouse and Francis Ford Coppola, two Hollywood directors involved in the early phase of transnational film production, both confessed that their productions were besieged by the phantom of war. Being at the frontline of transnational ventures, their shared experience of a haunting war betrays the nature of transnational production...

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5. Game of Death and Hip Hop Aesthetics: Globalization of Popular Cultural Revolution

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pp. 171-202

In 1978, Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers released Game of Death, which exploited Lee’s image in a patchwork fashion, using the climactic fighting scenes Lee shot for the film as well as his images from previous films. As if it were an act of plagiarism, Lee’s image was sometimes crudely superimposed upon the body of the actor who played the double...

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CONCLUSION: From Possibility to Actualization of Another World

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pp. 203-208

Having traversed from the decolonizing nationalism of the kung fu cultural revolution to the autonomous forum of hip hop and Jeet Kune Do aesthetics in a loosely evolutionary framework, we may now be able to reexamine the development of popular movements transcending globalization. The first step in such an endeavor is to return to Chiapas, arguably the birthplace...


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pp. 209-246


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pp. 247-260


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pp. 261-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780791480632
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791469910
Print-ISBN-10: 0791469913

Page Count: 281
Illustrations: 11 b/w photographs, 4 figures
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: SUNY series, Explorations in Postcolonial Studies
Series Editor Byline: Emmanuel C. Eze See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 137600914
MUSE Marc Record: Download for From Kung Fu to Hip Hop

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mass media -- Social aspects.
  • Popular culture.
  • Mass media and culture.
  • Kung fu.
  • Lee, Bruce, 1940-1973.
  • Hip-hop.
  • Hendrix, Jimi.
  • Globalization.
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  • Open Access
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