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Staging Revolutions: "Hamilton. An American Musical", Genre Affordances, and the Political Dynamics of Cultural Circulation


Schoch, Hannah (2021). Staging Revolutions: "Hamilton. An American Musical", Genre Affordances, and the Political Dynamics of Cultural Circulation. In: Ritzer, Ivo. Media and Genre: Dialogues in Aesthetics and Cultural Analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 105-128.

Abstract

This chapter shows how genre affordances may decisively position reception and cultural impact of media texts. Not only has it been claimed that the 2015 Broadway hit musical Hamilton’s blending of rap and musical allegedly propels the genre of the musical into the twenty-first century and updates it for a whole new audience and for generations to come, but also that the aesthetic engagement of different genres allows us to experience the recounting of the historical revolution even more acutely. The producers have been highly prolific in putting out para-texts to both frame, control and produce a specific reading thereby offering an explicit and self-conscious staging and a meta-reflection on what it means to engage with genre affordances. Yet, this proliferation of material while to some extent producing ideological readings, simultaneously destabilizes these readings. Furthermore, its practice of reconfiguring the possibilities and potentialities of the musical genre did not follow a pre-tested script, and hence was both risky in terms of its production and reception, and based on a number of uncontrollable contingencies, not least of all because the two key genres invoked feed of the visceral, not fully controllable, moment on stage. This chapter looks at genre affordances as tactics of self-positioning in order to highlight the intricate interconnections of history, politics and media that can be traced via genre, but also in order to work out the paradox between the fraught, contingent moments of any aesthetic object and the seemingly stable, smooth discourses that can be produced in hindsight.

Abstract

This chapter shows how genre affordances may decisively position reception and cultural impact of media texts. Not only has it been claimed that the 2015 Broadway hit musical Hamilton’s blending of rap and musical allegedly propels the genre of the musical into the twenty-first century and updates it for a whole new audience and for generations to come, but also that the aesthetic engagement of different genres allows us to experience the recounting of the historical revolution even more acutely. The producers have been highly prolific in putting out para-texts to both frame, control and produce a specific reading thereby offering an explicit and self-conscious staging and a meta-reflection on what it means to engage with genre affordances. Yet, this proliferation of material while to some extent producing ideological readings, simultaneously destabilizes these readings. Furthermore, its practice of reconfiguring the possibilities and potentialities of the musical genre did not follow a pre-tested script, and hence was both risky in terms of its production and reception, and based on a number of uncontrollable contingencies, not least of all because the two key genres invoked feed of the visceral, not fully controllable, moment on stage. This chapter looks at genre affordances as tactics of self-positioning in order to highlight the intricate interconnections of history, politics and media that can be traced via genre, but also in order to work out the paradox between the fraught, contingent moments of any aesthetic object and the seemingly stable, smooth discourses that can be produced in hindsight.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:December 2021
Deposited On:07 Feb 2022 12:55
Last Modified:18 Jun 2024 03:33
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN:9783030698652
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-69866-9_4
Related URLs:https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-69866-9_4 (Publisher)
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