Herman Gray takes a sweeping look at black popular culture over the past decade to explore culture's role in the push for black political power and social recognition. In a series of linked essays, he finds that black artists, scholars, musicians, and others have been instrumental in reconfiguring social and cultural life in the United States and he provocatively asks how black culture can now move beyond a preoccupation with inclusion and representation.
Gray considers how Wynton Marsalis and his creation of a jazz canon at Lincoln Center acted to establish cultural visibility and legitimacy for jazz. Other essays address such topics as the work of the controversial artist Kara Walker; the relentless struggles for representation on network television when those networks are no longer the primary site of black or any other identity; and how black musicians such as Steve Coleman and George Lewis are using new technology to shape and extend black musical traditions and cultural identities.
Introduction: Strategies, Tactics, Moves
PART I. STRATEGIES
1. The New Conditions of Black Cultural Production
2. Jazz Tradition, Institutional Formation, and Cultural Practice
3. The Jazz Left
PART II. TACTICS
4. Where Have All the Black Shows Gone?
5. Television and the Politics of Difference
6. Different Dreams, Dreams of Difference
7. Cultural Politics as Outrage(ous)
PART III. MOVES
8. Is (Cyber) Space the Place?
9. Music, Identity, and New Technology
Conclusion: Cultural Moves
Herman S. Gray is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for Blackness (1995) and Producing Jazz: Theresa Records, Case Study of Jazz Independent (1988).
"For many years now, Herman Gray has crafted brilliant cultural criticism that has illumined and interrogated the complex dimensions of black culture. In Cultural Moves, Gray sends his probing intellect into the fierce battles in black life over representation, identity, and sources of recognition and legitimacy in forms as varied as television and new technologies. He is as fluent in the languages of critical theory of black social and aesthetic agency as he is in the lucid observation of everyday politics that shape black culture. Cultural Moves is one of the most daring, creative, and wise books of black cultural criticism from one of our most gifted critics."—Michael Eric Dyson, author of The Michael Eric Dyson Reader
"Cultural Moves demonstrates that Herman Gray is the most compelling critical theorist of cultural politics today. Focusing on the defining conditions of black cultural formation, Gray provides us with a critical vocabulary for comprehending what moves culture and what makes culture moving, institutionally and politically, technologically and economically, representationally and emotionally. A must read."—David Theo Goldberg, Director, Humanities Research Institute, University of California at Irvine