Book cover for 'Parodies of Ownership'
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Parodies of Ownership

Hip-Hop Aesthetics and Intellectual Property Law
Richard L. Schur

An intriguing interdisciplinary examination of hip hop aesthetics


What is the relationship between hip-hop and African American culture in the post–Civil Rights era? Does hip-hop share a criticism of American culture or stand as an isolated and unique phenomenon? How have African American texts responded to the increasing role intellectual property law plays in regulating images, sounds, words, and logos? Parodies of Ownership examines how contemporary African American writers, artists, and musicians have developed an artistic form that Schur terms "hip-hop aesthetics." This book offers an in-depth examination of a wide range of contemporary African American painters and writers, including Anna Deavere Smith, Toni Morrison, Adrian Piper, Colson Whitehead, Michael Ray Charles, Alice Randall, and Fred Wilson. Their absence from conversations about African American culture has caused a misunderstanding about the nature of contemporary cultural issues and resulted in neglect of their innovative responses to the post–Civil Rights era. By considering their work as a cross-disciplinary and specifically African American cultural movement, Schur shows how a new paradigm for artistic creation has developed.

Parodies of Ownership offers a broad analysis of post–Civil Rights era culture and provides the necessary context for understanding contemporary debates within American studies, African American studies, intellectual property law, African American literature, art history, and hip-hop studies. Weaving together law, literature, art, and music, Schur deftly clarifies the conceptual issues that unify contemporary African American culture, empowering this generation of artists, writers, and musicians to criticize how racism continues to affect our country.

"Richard Schur offers a provocative view of contemporary African American cultural politics and the relationship between African American cultural production and intellectual property law."
—Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University

"Whites used to own blacks. Now, they accomplish much the same thing by insisting that they 'own' ownership. Blacks shouldn't let them. A culture that makes all artists play by its rules will end up controlling new ideas and stifling change. Richard Schur's fine book explains why."
—Richard Delgado, Seattle University

Cover illustration: Atlas, by Fred Wilson. © Fred Wilson, courtesy Pace Wildenstein, New York.

Richard L. Schur is Director, Interdisciplinary Studies Center, and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Drury University.

Praise / Awards

  • "His ability to unite seemingly disconnected work is nothing short of miraculous, and his innovativeness make this book a necessity for anyone interested in a fascinating conversation about race, culture, and music in the post-civil-rights era."
    —A.R.S. Lorenz, Choice

Product Details

  • 256 pages.
Available worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05060-4

Add to Cart
  • $29.95 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-90044-2

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  • hip hop, hip hop aesthetics, copyright, sampling, post-black art, racist trademarks, post-civil rights era, critical race theory, fair use, hip hop generation