Race and Ethnicity

General Sites

Online Articles


[Few topics on popular culture can be adequately researched on the web alone. These reading suggestions are designed as beginning points for further offline study.]

Bird, S. Elizabeth, ed.Dressing in Feathers: The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture.Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996.
Essays range over two centuries and many forms, from “wild west” shows to Disney’sPocahontas.
Bogle, Donald.Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films.New York: Viking Press, 1973.
Classic study (updated in 1998 edition) of African American stereotypes, from the silent film era to late 20th century.
Churchill, Ward.Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema and the Colonization of American Indians.Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1992.
Blunt, often incisive, critique of issues ranging from genocidal Westerns to sports mascots to New Age wannabe Indians.
Diawara, Manthia, ed.Black American Cinema.New York: Routledge, 1993.
Excellent collection of essays on aesthetics, history, and reception of African American film.
Fregoso, Rose Linda.The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
The best study yet of Chicanas as subjects in and creators of film.
Gaspar de Alba, Alicia.Chicano Art Inside/Outside the Master’s House: Cultural Politics and the CARA Exhibition.Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.
Brilliant interpretation of a major Chicano art retrospective that raises key questions about the construction of high art vs. popular art among marginalized ethno-racialized groups.
Gray, Herman.Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for “Blackness”.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.
Brilliant interpretation of the evolution of representations of African Americans in television news and fiction programming, from the 1980s to the present.
Guerrero, Ed.Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film.Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
Among the very best general works on African Americans and film.
Hamamoto, Darrell Y.Monitored Peril: Asian Americans and the Politics of TV Representation.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
Wide-ranging study that includes issues of internment, and the war in Southeast Asia, in addition to ongoing, everyday stereotypes of TV orientalism.
Jhally, Sut.The Codes of Advertising: Fetishism and the Political Economy of Meaning in the Consumer Society.New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
Strong study of how advertising texts shape racial, gender, and class beliefs and create a “consumer” consciousness.
Jhally, Sut and Justin Lewis.Enlightened Racism:The Cosby Show,Audiences, and the Myth of the American Dream.Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.
Combines audience surveys and textual analysis to look at how confusions of race and class in the US are reflected in and reinforced by Cosby’s mid-80s show.
Lee, Robert G.Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture.Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999.
The most comprehensive study to date on Asian Americans in pop culture, covering two centuries and many different cultural forms.
Lipsitz, George.Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990.
Innovative study of relations between mass-produced pop culture and the realities of communal memory dimly present in those commodified productions.
———.Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place.London; New York: Verso, 1994.
Incisive study of various musical ethnic subcultures and their complex negotiations with the dominant culture and their co-resisters in a global/local struggle over meaning.
Lutz, Catherine and Jane L. Collins.Reading National Geographic.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Two visual anthropologists study the racial, gender, and international politics of this influential journal.
McNair, Brian.Mediated Sex: Pornography and Postmodern Culture.UK: Arnold Publishers, 1996.
Sociology-based analysis weighing various arguments about the production and consumption of pornography; focused primarily on the US and Britain.
Pratt, Ray.Rhythm and Resistance: The Political Uses of Popular Music.Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 1994.
Examines the political impact of spirituals, gospel, the blues, and rock ‘n’ roll in American culture.
Reid, Mark.Redefining Black Film.Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Important history of the black independent film industry that has long sought to counter and complicate mainstream Hollywood representations of African Americans.
Rose, Tricia.Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America.Hanover, NH: Published by University Press of New England for Wesleyan University Press, 1994.
Arguably the best book yet on rap, this study analyses both the political economic cultural roots of rap, and its textual meanings.
Ross, Andrew, Tricia Rose, and Andrew Rose, eds.Microphone Fiends: Youth Music and Youth Culture.New York: Routledge, 1994.
Excellent collection of essays on rock, rap, heavy metal, dance scenes, and the youth cultures that surround them.
Tomlinson, John.Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction.Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
A fine, brief survey of issues surrounding the ways in which US pop culture may or may not be overwhelming other world cultures.
  • The Representation of the Black Male in Film. A critique by Christopher Miller of the cinema industry’s exclusion and stereotyping of black males: there aren’t enough good role models for black youths in films.