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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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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Lyric Citizenship in Post 9/11 Performance

Lyric Citizenship in Post 9/11 Performance

Sekou Sundiata’s the 51st (dream) state

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

Julie Ellison

Columbia University Press

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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