Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America

  • Year: 2005
  • Location: UC Press

My first book, a study of the role of popular music in the formation of U.S. racial and national identities. Winner, 2006 American Book Award.

“The range and depth of Audiotopia is thrilling. It’s not only that Josh Kun knows so much-it’s that he knows what to make of what he knows.”—Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century
“In engaging, passionate prose, Kun offers his own postmodern academic version of High Fidelity. Trotting out a fascinating array of allusions, both famous and obscure, to American literature, art, and music, Kun argues that music has seven as an instrument for musicians, poets, painters, ands others to form their own person “audiotopias”—musical utopias in which they project new, often liberating visions of American racial and ethnic identity.”—James Loeffler Nextbook

“With Audiotopia, Kun emerges as a pre-eminent analyst, interpreter, and theorist of inter-ethnic dialogue in US music, literature, and visual art. This book is a guide to how scholarship will look in the future—the first fully realized product of a new generation of scholars thrown forth by tumultuous social ferment and eager to talk about the world that they see emerging around them.”—George Lipsitz, author of Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture

“The way Josh Kun writes about what he hears, the way he unravels word, sound, and power is breathtaking, provocative, and original. A bold, expansive, and lyrical book, Audiotopia is a record of crossings, textures, tangents, and ideas you will want to play again and again.”—Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation