By Black Hawk Hancock
“Perhaps,” wrote Ralph Ellison greater than seventy years in the past, “the zoot go well with comprises profound political which means; probably the symmetrical frenzy of the Lindy-hop conceals clues to nice capability power.” As Ellison famous then, a lot of our such a lot mundane cultural types are higher and extra very important than they seem, taking up nice value and an unforeseen intensity of which means. What he observed within the strength of the Lindy Hop—the dance that Life magazine as soon as billed as “America’s actual nationwide folks Dance”—would unfold from black the US to make a long-lasting effect on white the United States and provide us a really compelling technique of figuring out our tradition. yet with what hidden implications?
In American Allegory, Black Hawk Hancock deals an embedded and embodied ethnography that situates dance inside 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 convey to the skin the racial stress that surrounds white use of black cultural kinds. concentrating on new types of appropriation in an period of multiculturalism, Hancock underscores the institutionalization of racial disparities and provides extraordinary insights into the intersection of race and tradition in the USA.
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Additional info for American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination
R AL P H E L L I S O N A N D T H E Q U E S T I O N O F A M E R I CA N I D E N T I T Y When I began to examine today’s Lindy Hop resurgence in the contemporary dance scene, I initially found this to be a quixotic yet fascinating white subculture. Yet I wondered if this was just another cultural fad that garners national a ention as an arcane peculiarity. Once the Lindy Hop became a nationwide phenomenon, there was obviously something more substantive at stake warranting serious sociological a ention.
First is the notion of “authenticity,” both in terms of racial-cultural identities and historical-ﬁctitious origins. Second is the notion of the “contexts” (physical, psychical, and institutional) within which the dance is cultivated. Ellison undermines the notion of authenticity through the revealing of the multiple threads of cultures and contributions that run throughout the construction of any cultural form. In doing so, Ellison denies reiﬁcation and highlights the complexity, if not impossibility, of grounding any cultural form in any constructed or essential identity as being authentic whatsoever.
Whereas previous eras of white racial domination have been characterized by explicit physical or symbolic manifestations, in the post–civil rights period of colorblindness and multiculturalism, white racial domination works “without racists” in an implicit and o en invisible form (Bonilla-Silva 2003). What makes the Lindy Hop such a fascinating object lesson is not the cultural form itself, but the dynamics involved in its cross-racial adoption and how racial domination is perpetuated not through racism or prejudice but rather through the misrecognition of the ways that racial domination is perpetuated through the ordinary cultural practices.
American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination by Black Hawk Hancock