Activist Art and Cultural Politics
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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We would like to thank our editor at SUNY Press, Beth Bouloukos, and her assistant, Rafael Chaiken, for their assistance in bringing this project to fruition. We would also like to thank the progressive scholars and ac-tivists of the Caucus for a New Political Science for demonstrating that The following chapters are revised from original articles in a special ...
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Along with the political speeches and the oath of office, the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States featured music, poetry, and prayer. We believe that this signaled a propitious moment to inquire whether these alternative and aesthetic modes of public discourse prefigure a more democratic future. ...
Part IIPhotography and Cartoons
Chapter 2Photo-Activism in the Digital Age
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In 1927, Siegfried Kracauer argued that in the illustrated magazines flourishing at the time, “people see the very world that the illustrated magazines prevent them from perceiving.” Kracauer separated visual information from knowledge production: “Never before has an age been so informed about itself. . . . Never before has a period known so little...
Chapter 3Framing the Obama Political Cartoons
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Often denigrated as non-serious art, cartoons have a complex relation with democracy and violence. Recent years have seen the controversy with the Muhammad cartoons published in a Danish newspaper (Septem-ber 2005) that led to heated debate, worldwide protests, and resulted in one hundred deaths. Seen as tacky and racist by its critics, the cartoons ...
Part IIIMonuments and Memorials
Chapter 4The Moral Economy
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The 1960s and 1970s marked a pivotal period in U.S. history, when La-tinos and other people of color were collectively engaged in struggles to gain civil rights, public recognition, and respect within mainstream Anglo society. Blossoming in the 1970s (with roots going back to the 1930s), the Chicano1 Movement began in California and the American Southwest as ...
Chapter 5The National D-Day Memorial
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This study evaluates art as a means of ?doing democracy? by reconsider-ing the cultural politics surrounding the creation of a World War II battle memorial in the United States of America?namely, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. Both as a local civic monument to na-tionalist values and as a public historical artifact of American nationalism, ...
Part IVLiterature and Poetry
Chapter 6The Message in the Medium
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It is debatable whether or not American poets have ever been able to count on the ?great audiences? identified by Whitman as essential for good poetry. But one thing is certain: The twentieth century saw a slow, steady decline of interest among most Americans in poetry. While earlier generations saw poets as important literary and public voices, with their ...
Chapter 7Tragedy and Democracy
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In the current climate of global insecurity, liberal democratic values have fallen into a crisis. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, lawmakers and the general public in the United States expressed their willingness to set aside concerns for liberty, justice, and human rights in the quest for greater security.1 This chapter contends that the arts, ...
Chapter 8“You’re an American rapper,so what do you know?”
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The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 provided a vivid il-lustration of the intimate link between popular culture, especially popu-lar music, and politics. The campaign was marked by will.i.am?s musical reworking of Obama?s ?Yes We Can? speech, and the inauguration cel-ebrations were led by the good and great of Hollywood and the music ...
Chapter 9Playing with Hate
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It is a hard thing to live haunted by the ghost of an untrue dream; to see the wide vision of empire fade into real ashes and dirt. Music speaks to us at a deeper level than books or political rhetoric: music speaks directly to the soul. Resistance Records . . . will be the Early versions of this essay were presented at the 2006 American Political Science ...
Chapter 10Betrayed by Democracy
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Times of war are often times when democratic debates are under siege. The apparent necessity to ward off an enemy and secure the nation?s survival can trigger a state of exception: a partial suspension of crucial democratic rights and practices for the sake of national security. In the context of the War on Terror that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, ...
Chapter 11Political Actors
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What happens in theater happens. Representation has the effect of Pluralist democracies take as given that difference is the very stuff of politics?that dominant meanings, values, and ways of life and the politi-cal relations they maintain do not account for all citizens, and alternative possibilities might yet prove legitimate, viable, even preferable. As such, ...
Part VIIFestival and Spectacle
Chapter 12Art in the House
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Art should be part of the creative process of changing the world.The moment of true volition [in artistic creation] . . . is mediated crystallization becomes an analogy of that other condition which should be. As eminently constructed and produced objects, works of art, including literary ones, point to a practice from which they ...
Chapter 13Democracy despite Government
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Following Michael Jackson?s death, New Orleanians staged a parade in his honor. After Katrina in January 2006, the Black Men of Labor (BMOL) sponsored a parade that began on St. Claude Avenue, running through the Ninth Ward and ending on Claiborne Avenue, a main thoroughfare through African American neighborhoods that was destroyed as a com-...
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Art cannot be about the people; it cannot be for the people; it must In this concluding chapter we take a closer look at an increasingly im-portant form of activist art: intentional, directed attempts to use art to drive community development. Many neighborhoods, cities, states, and even nations are turning to the arts and culture as a stimulus for com-...
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: SUNY series, Praxis: Theory in Action