Discussions with Political Scientists: Lester Spence

New Books in Political Science

Spence_Stare coverHip-hop has, within a short time span, moved from a free-flowing expression of urban youth to a global–and highly marketable–musical genre.  Its influence in culture, fashion, film, and music is ubiquitous, and theories about hip-hop’s importance in the political sphere abound.  But what, exactly, is the relationship between hip-hop and politics?   Does hip-hop influence the expression and formation of political thought?  Does it influence the expression and formation of political action? If the influence exists, what are its boundaries?  These are some of the questions tackled in Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-Hop and Black Politics by  Lester K. Spence.  Spence traces the concurrent neoliberal turn in hip-hop and American politics and examines the implications of both for the politics of black Americans. He infuses the narrative of neoliberal transformation with empirical examination of hip-hop’s impact on the political attitudes of  the hip-hop generation and of urban youth. Analyzing track lyrics, survey data, and original experiments, Spence theorizes the boundaries of the space in black American life that is occupied by both hip-hop and politics.

Listen here.

University of Minnesota Press Podcast


Art and Posthumanism: Cary Wolfe in conversation with Art after Nature series editors Giovanni Aloi and Caroline Picard.


Life in Plastic: Petrochemical fantasies and synthetic sensibilities, with Caren Irr, Lisa Swanstrom, Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, and Daniel Worden.


Live: A book launch for We Are Meant to Rise at Next Chapter Booksellers features Carolyn Holbrook, David Mura, Douglas Kearney, Melissa Olson, Said Shaiye, and Kao Kalia Yang.