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The Art of Protest

Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle

2005
Author:

T. V. Reed

The Art of Protest

A comprehensive introduction to the culture of progressive social movements in the United States

The first overview of social movements and the cultural forms that helped shape them, The Art of Protest shows the importance of these movements to American culture. In comparative accounts of movements beginning with the African American civil rights movement through the Internet-driven movement for global justice, T. V. Reed enriches our understanding of protest and its cultural expression.

Sophisticated yet very accessible, with a fluid writing style and well-organized chapters ranging from black civil rights to global justice. Succeeding on many levels, the book makes a measurable contribution to the literature of several areas of study, offers a well-informed and insightful introduction to students at every level, and tenders various ideas and tactics to add to an activist toolkit. Essential.

Choice

Imagine the civil rights movement without freedom songs or the politics of women’s movements without poetry. More difficult yet, imagine an America unaffected by the cultural expressions of the twentieth-century social movements that have shaped our nation. The first broad overview of social movements and the distinctive cultural forms that helped shape them, The Art of Protest shows the vital importance of these movements to American culture.

In comparative accounts of movements beginning with the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and running through the Internet-driven movement for global justice of the twenty-first century (“Will the revolution be cybercast?”), T. V. Reed enriches our understanding of protest and its cultural expression. Reed explores the street drama of the Black Panthers, the revolutionary murals of the Chicano movement, the American Indian Movement’s use of film and video, rock music and the struggles against famine and apartheid, ACT UP’s use of visual art in the campaign against AIDS, and the literature of environmental justice. Throughout, Reed employs the concept of culture in three interrelated ways: by examining social movements as sub- or countercultures; by looking at poetry, painting, music, murals, film, and fiction in and around social movements; and by considering the ways in which the cultural texts generated by resistance movements have reshaped the contours of the wider American culture.

The United States is a nation that began with a protest. Through the kaleidoscopic lens of artistic and cultural expression, Reed reveals how activism continues to remake our world.

A Web site for The Art of Protest is available at http://www.upress.umn.edu/artofprotest.

Awards

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title

The Art of Protest

T. V. Reed is director of American studies and professor of English at Washington State University. He is the author of Fifteen Jugglers, Five Believers: Literary Politics and the Poetics of American Social Movements.

The Art of Protest

Sophisticated yet very accessible, with a fluid writing style and well-organized chapters ranging from black civil rights to global justice. Succeeding on many levels, the book makes a measurable contribution to the literature of several areas of study, offers a well-informed and insightful introduction to students at every level, and tenders various ideas and tactics to add to an activist toolkit. Essential.

Choice

An ambitious project that breathes some vitality back into the study of social movements at a time when we need to remember the lessons of the past and become much more active in the present. Highly recommended as a bird’s eye view into major social movements.

Sociological Inquiry

The Art of Protest

The Art of Protest companion site includes chapter summaries, resources, and a bonus chapter.