Poster Title

The fashion rhetoric of Sun Ra and the creation of a new cultural form

Research Mentor(s)

Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre

Affiliated Department

Communication Studies

Sort Order

22

Start Date

15-5-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

15-5-2015 2:00 PM

Document Type

Event

Abstract

This research analyzes images of avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra, who is recognized as one of the original voices in the artistic movement known as “Afrofuturism.” During the time of this image, and even today, Western representations of Ancient Egypt in history books, art and film, depict rulers as white. The symbol of Egypt—an ancient technologically advanced culture—worn by an American black man, challenged the dominant ideologies Western cultures had of the leaders of Egypt. Stories of the future also lacked a significant presence of black individuals, and in a time when man was about to land on the moon, black representation in depictions of the future was crucial as well. The purpose of fashion in a subculture is to challenge and oppose the dominant culture by means of appropriating and changing the meaning of signs (Barnard, 2007). Additionally, the values of a subculture, and the hegemonic ideals that the group aims to challenge are found in the fashion of a subculture (Hebdige, 1979). In the imagery of Sun Ra, through the reorganization of symbols of the distant past, juxtaposed against symbols of the future, a new cultural form (Afrofuturism) was created—one that challenged normalized ideologies, and aided in creating new cultural identities.

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this documentation for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 15th, 10:00 AM May 15th, 2:00 PM

The fashion rhetoric of Sun Ra and the creation of a new cultural form

Communication Studies

This research analyzes images of avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra, who is recognized as one of the original voices in the artistic movement known as “Afrofuturism.” During the time of this image, and even today, Western representations of Ancient Egypt in history books, art and film, depict rulers as white. The symbol of Egypt—an ancient technologically advanced culture—worn by an American black man, challenged the dominant ideologies Western cultures had of the leaders of Egypt. Stories of the future also lacked a significant presence of black individuals, and in a time when man was about to land on the moon, black representation in depictions of the future was crucial as well. The purpose of fashion in a subculture is to challenge and oppose the dominant culture by means of appropriating and changing the meaning of signs (Barnard, 2007). Additionally, the values of a subculture, and the hegemonic ideals that the group aims to challenge are found in the fashion of a subculture (Hebdige, 1979). In the imagery of Sun Ra, through the reorganization of symbols of the distant past, juxtaposed against symbols of the future, a new cultural form (Afrofuturism) was created—one that challenged normalized ideologies, and aided in creating new cultural identities.