The black president hokum

Erica R. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


By offering a black feminist critique of fictional black presidencies, this essay highlights what the trope of black presidency, articulated via competing narratives of time and historical progress, is meant to manage in contemporary U.S. public culture: a heterogeneous black freedom struggle that is both conjured and contained by the trope of the black president, the objections of black women cultural producers to the disciplinary operations of American popular and political cultures, and multifarious desires for radical alternatives to American empire. By analyzing a range of texts, from Richard Wright's 1940 novel, Native Son, to films such as Deep Impact (1998) and Head of State (2003), the essay shows the fictional black president functions as both a referent for public black anxieties triggered by the shift in public black political culture from social protest to electoral politics and a symbol for a putatively postracial global regime of power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-59
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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