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American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions$
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Cindy Weinstein and Christopher Looby

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156172

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156172.001.0001

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Lyric Citizenship in Post 9/11 Performance

Lyric Citizenship in Post 9/11 Performance

Sekou Sundiata’s the 51st (dream) state

Chapter:
(p.91) [4] Lyric Citizenship in Post 9/11 Performance
Source:
American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions
Author(s):

Julie Ellison

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231156172.003.0004

This chapter analyzes the proliferation of institutional spaces that are devoted to the production, through various art forms, of “lyric citizenship,” and contextualizes this development in relation to the present moment of Barack Obama's presidency. Through a reading of Sekou Sundiata's 51st (dream) state, as well as texts written primarily by African American academics, creative writers, and public intellectuals, it argues for the renewed presence of an aesthetic dimension in discourse—whether through the language of dreams, magic, or lyric—that represents “political possibility and impossibility, a swinging door between agency and loss”. The aesthetic dimension is where hope is alive.

Keywords:   lyric citizenship, Barack Obama, African American texts, aesthetics

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