In Search of the Black Fantastic

In Search of the Black Fantastic : Politics and Popular Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era

4.11 (34 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Prior to the 1960s, when African Americans had little access to formal political power, black popular culture was commonly seen as a means of forging community and effecting political change. But as Richard Iton shows in this provocative and insightful volume, despite the changes brought about by the civil rights movement, and contrary to the wishes of those committed to narrower conceptions of politics, black artists have continued to play a significant role in the making and maintenance of critical social spaces. Iton offers an original portrait of the relationship between popular culture and institutionalized politics tracing the connections between artists such as Paul Robeson, Lorraine Hansberry, Richard Pryor, Bob Marley and Erykah Badu and those individuals working in the protest, electoral, and policy making arenas. With an emphasis on questions of class, gender and sexuality-and diaspora and coloniality-the author also illustrates how creative artists destabilize modern notions of the proper location of politics, and politics itself. Ranging from theatre to film, and comedy to literature and contemporary music, In Search of the Black Fantastic is an engaging and sophisticated examination of how black popular culture has challenged our understandings of the aesthetic and its relationship to politics.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 30mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195178467
  • 9780195178463
  • 2,078,139

Review quote

Brimming with ideas... In Search of the Black Fantastic offers thought-provoking insights throughout its 400 pages and will certainly stimulate further work in numerous areas of African American history. * American Historical Review * A fresh, meticulously well researched study...The book is grounded in a solid historical base, surveying the dilemmas faced by black artists from the Cold War to the present...I strongly recommend In Search of the Black Fantastic to serious scholars of black literature and culture. By so perceptively engaging the relationship between popular art and the politics of marginalized people, it helps to clear the way to a truer, deeper understanding of an important subject which rarely gets such penetrating analysis. * African American Review * Iton's work possesses the depth of wide reading in modernist theory and the breadth of wide-open eyes and ears for the popular... challenging, illuminating and groundbreaking. For both lay reader and academician, it may well 'compel a revision of our notions of the political. * Publishers Weekly * By interweaving many complex issues, In Search of the Black Fantastic moves across the disciplines with ease-politics, history, sociology, American studies, and African American studies-thereby representing one of the most thorough examinations of post-war black culture. * Political Science Quarterly * A fascinating history and analysis of the nexus of black popular culture and activism from the Jazz Age to the hip-hop era...a timely reminder of the significant influence African American artists and entertainers have had on the political front-not necessarily in enacting laws, but in the symbolic impact of words and actions. * Los Angeles Times *show more

About Richard Iton

Richard Iton is Associate Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Northwestern University; winner of the 2001Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book award and the 2000 Best Book Award on the Social, Cultural, and Ideological Construction of Race from the American Political Science Association for Solidarity Blues: Race, Culture, and the American Left.show more

Table of contents

NOTES;; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS;; INDEXshow more

Rating details

34 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 44% (15)
4 32% (11)
3 18% (6)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
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