In Media Res

In Media Res
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Race, Identity, and Pop Culture in the Twenty-First Century
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James Braxton Peterson
The Griot Project Book Series
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In Media Res is a collection of critical essays and creative works that wrestle with key issues in twenty-first-century popular culture, including race, technology, gender, media, and politics. Its scope and coverage of a wide range of popular issues make this book a powerful introduction to popular culture studies in the contemporary moment.

In Media Res is a manifold collection that reflects the intersectional qualities of university programming in the twenty-first century. Taking race, gender, and popular culture as its central thematic subjects, the volume collects academic essays, speeches, poems, and creative works that critically engage a wide range of issues, including American imperialism, racial and gender discrimination, the globalization of culture, and the limitations of our new multimedia world. This diverse assortment of works by scholars, activists, and artists models the complex ways that we must engage university students, faculty, staff, and administration in a moment where so many of us are confounded by the “in medias res” nature of our interface with the world in the current moment. Featuring contributions from Imani Perry, Michael Eric Dyson, Suheir Hammad, John Jennings, and Adam Mansbach, In Media Res is a primer for academic inquiry into popular culture; American studies; critical media literacy; women, gender, and sexuality studies; and Africana studies.


List of Illustrations


Introduction: Into the Midst of Things

James Braxton Peterson

Part I: Head Matter: The Mind and the Mask

Chapter 1: An Empire State of Mind

Imani Perry

Chapter 2: Consolidating a Hip Hop Nation: Revisiting the Videotaped Police Beating of Rodney King, 20 Years Later

Tanji Gilliam

Chapter 3: Head on Straight, Mask on Crooked: MF DOOM and the Trope of the Mask

Nicholas James

Chapter 4: The Superhero Aesthetics in Hip Hop Culture

Will Boone

Part II: Visual Matter

Chapter 5: I Have a Meme: Photography, Memory, and Digital Commemorations of the March on Washington

Paul M. Farber

Chapter 6: How Deep? Skin Deep? A Case Study on Shameful National Orientations

Emily Churilla

Chapter 7: Faggoty/White/Uniform: Gays in the Military and A Few Good Men

Scott St. Pierre

Part III: Global Flows

Chapter 8: Selected Poems

Suheir Hammad

Chapter 9: The Communal Womb in Haile Gerima’s Sankofa

Belinda Monique Waller-Peterson

Chapter 10: South Asian Hip Hop Wannabes and the Chavs Who Love Them: The Blackening of British Culture in Gautam Malkani’s Londonstani

Delores B. Phillips

Chapter 11: “A True and Faithful Account of Mr. Ota Benga the Pygmy,” written by M. Berman, Zookeeper, a short story

Adam Mansbach

Part IV: Culture of Personality

Chapter 12: Richard Pryor’s Pain: From Stand-Up Comedy to Hollywood Film

Sean Springer

Chapter 13: You Are Now Tuned Into the ... Greatest: Jay-Z and the Spectacle of the Cool

Wilfredo Gomez

Chapter 14: Disassembling the “Matrix of Domination”: Janelle Monae’s Transformative Vision

Carrie Walker

Chapter 15: “Dreams of the Drum”: A Keynote Address

Michael Eric Dyson


Sound Recordings

About the Contributors


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