American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination - download pdf or read online

By Black Hawk Hancock

ISBN-10: 022604307X

ISBN-13: 9780226043074

“Perhaps,” wrote Ralph Ellison greater than seventy years in the past, “the zoot swimsuit comprises profound political which means; maybe the symmetrical frenzy of the Lindy-hop conceals clues to nice strength power.” As Ellison famous then, a lot of our so much mundane cultural kinds are higher and extra vital than they seem, taking up nice importance and an unforeseen intensity of which means. What he observed within the energy of the Lindy Hop—the dance that Life magazine as soon as billed as “America’s real nationwide folks Dance”—would unfold from black the US to make a long-lasting effect on white the United States and supply us a very compelling technique of figuring out our tradition. yet with what hidden implications?

In American Allegory, Black Hawk Hancock bargains an embedded and embodied ethnography that situates dance inside of a bigger Chicago panorama of segregated social practices. Delving into Chicago dance worlds, the Lindy and Steppin’, Hancock makes use of a mixture of participant-observation and interviews to carry to the outside the racial rigidity that surrounds white use of black cultural varieties. targeting new varieties of appropriation in an period of multiculturalism, Hancock underscores the institutionalization of racial disparities and provides impressive insights into the intersection of race and tradition in the US.

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Extra info for American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination

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Coming to terms with the racial imagination, we must deconstruct not just the issue of whiteness, but all forms of racializing and racial logic that mediate our ways of seeing, interpreting, and understanding all social interaction. Following Ellison, we must come to understand how culture is embodied and coded through the body and as such come to understand how the racial imagination operates to naturalize and racialize cultural forms. The fact that the Lindy Hop and Steppin’ are situated side by side in the city of Chicago provides me with the opportunity to address these Ellisonian questions.

In order to do so: We need to forge an analytic of racial domination capable of capturing the simultaneously malleability and obdurateness of racial divisions along with the diversity of symbolic and material mechanisms whereby these are drawn, enforced, and challenged. To do this we must discard the notion of “racism” and its logocentric bias, clearly demarcate sociologi- 34 introduction cal categories from ethno-racial commonsense, and renounce the urge to denounce fed by the logic of the trial.

T H E O R IZ I N G R AC E I N T H E T W E N T Y - F I R S T C E N T U R Y Traditional sociological approaches to race and ethnicity emphasize themes such as assimilation, discrimination, and prejudice; important as those themes may be, however, such approaches simply fail to see the depths of the issue and fail to grasp the full complexity of how race and culture operate, both in the United States and elsewhere. ¹⁰ Whiteness is not an individual phenomenon, to be examined on an individual level (as theories of prejudice and discrimination are wont to be).

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American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination by Black Hawk Hancock


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