Listening to Music in Cars While Black: Popular Music, Automobility, and the Murder of Jordan Davis

By : Amanda
In this chapter, I argue that the intersection of automobiles and popular music should be understood as deeply entrenched in US America’s history of white supremacist violence. Specifically, the discourses surrounding Black teenager Jordan Davis’s murder at the hands of white vigilante Michael Dunn demonstrates harmful everyday white American logics that position the ‘open road’ as white public space. Within this space, hip-hop music is audible only through a lens of criminality and positioned as oppositional to Black middle-class respectability. Together, these three socio-spatial logics, of the white open road, the ‘thug’ space of rap, and the ‘polite society’ of a gun-saturated culture, work to frame the contemporary musical space of the automobile as violent and unfriendly to Black travelers, thereby connecting contemporary US American culture with the supposedly vestigial violence of Jim Crow. As a result, I argue that within US American history the technologies of cars and music cannot be understood as separate from racist logics of white supremacy.

Purchase the volume, Popular Music and Automobiles (edited by Mark Duffett and Beate Peter) online through Bloomsbury here.


Culturally Speaking: The Rhetoric of Voice and Identity in a Mediated Culture

By : Amanda
Culturally Speaking proposes an innovative approach for understanding the relationship of the voice to race, gender, class, and sexuality. Exploring mediated voices from Sarah Palin to Richard Pryor and more, Edgar suggests privilege and oppression are marked on the voice through the cultural processes that connect voice and ear.

Purchase online through The Ohio State Press here.


“Everybody’s Hard Times are Different”: Country as a Political Investment in White Masculine Precarity

By : Amanda
Recognizing the complex interplay between country music, lifestyle, and identity, and the disparate nature of these texts and their producers, we center our analysis of the politics of contemporary “country” in the accounts of country music listeners. Through this lens, “country” foregrounds a portrait of precarious labor and white rural economies. Precarity is held up as aspirational, facilitated by the relative structural support of whiteness and masculinity that simultaneously leverages economic hardship to obfuscate these privileged positions. “Country” elides experiences of class marginalization, white rurality, and masculinized labor with mythologized narratives that position simplicity and work as “the good life.”

Full text here.

“I Think of Him as an Ancestor”: Tupac Shakur Fans and the Intimacy of Pop Cultural Heritage

By : Amanda
We consider the ways intimacy with pop cultural icons works as a type of heritage. Based on interviews with Tupac Shakur fans about his recent biopic and their histories with the rapper’s music, we demonstrate the emotional investments fans have in the artist’s image and their individual and communal connections to his memory. The 2017 biopic All Eyez on Me (AEoM) sparked public discussion of Shakur’s legacy and prompted his fans to reflect on the importance of his work in their identity development. Specifically, they connected with him through deeply felt moments of commonality and family experience. Revisiting their connection to Shakur through the biopic functioned as intimate heritage, as fans used a variety of mediated forms to reflect on their lives through the symbolic record of Shakur’s life. Therefore, the movie’s content was secondary to the ways a mediated discussion of the artist facilitated fans’ self-reflection.

Full text here.

Audiences Beyond Ratings: How We Read Media

By : Amanda
This course is an exploration of the history, theories, and methods used to understand media audiences from a critical/cultural media studies perspective, emphasizing the ways audience identities (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, class) influence media interaction. Upper division proposal syllabus here.

Freshman Honors forum syllabus here.

Message Design and Writing for Media

By : Amanda
This course addresses the styles and functions of various types of scripts for print, radio, film, television, and the internet. While learning to adhere to industry formats is the primary skill you will learn in this class, there is also ample opportunity for you to fine-tune and improve your creative writing skills. The primary purpose of this course is to build your writing skills and expose you to the challenges of collaborative and independent media writing. Though media writing environments differ, a number of elements are consistent across this and related industries. This course aims to introduce you to the pleasures and demands of work within a writing profession, and to help you develop the skills necessary to meet those demands.


Syllabus here.

Sound Studies

By : Amanda
This graduate level seminar provides students with a comprehensive grounding in historical and contemporary theories of sonic meaning and their application in understanding American cultural formations. Students will read key works that are foundational to the development of the growing sub-field of sound studies and consider the ways these theories can be placed in conversation with more traditional texts from American studies, cultural theory, and history. Students will also be encouraged to bring perspectives they have adopted from other coursework so as to further ground the study of sound in other approaches to American studies, history, critical race theory, technology studies, gender studies, disability studies, rhetoric and composition, and communication theory.

Syllabus here.

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