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Reading the Street: Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, and the Rise of Black Pulp Fiction by Kinohi Nishikawa Program in Literature Duke University April 1, 2010 Approved: ___________________________ Thomas Ferraro, Co-Chair ___________________________ Janice Radway, Co-Chair ___________________________ Matt Cohen ___________________________ Mark Anthony Neal ___________________________ Tomiko Yoda Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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    Reading the Street:Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, and the Rise of Black Pulp Fiction byKinohi NishikawaProgram in LiteratureDuke UniversityApril 1, 2010Approved: ___________________________ Thomas Ferraro, Co-Chair  ___________________________ Janice Radway, Co-Chair  ___________________________ Matt Cohen ___________________________ Mark Anthony Neal ___________________________ Tomiko YodaDissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Program in Literaturein the Graduate School of Duke University2010    ABSTRACTReading the Street:Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, and the Rise of Black Pulp Fiction byKinohi NishikawaProgram in LiteratureDuke UniversityApril 1, 2010Approved: ___________________________ Thomas Ferraro, Co-Chair  ___________________________ Janice Radway, Co-Chair  ___________________________ Matt Cohen ___________________________ Mark Anthony Neal ___________________________ Tomiko YodaAbstract of a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Program in Literaturein the Graduate School of Duke University2010    Copyright byKinohi Nishikawa2010   ivABSTRACT“Reading the Street” chronicles the rise of black pulp fiction in the post-civil rights erafrom the perspective of its urban readership. Black pulp fiction was srcinally publishedin the late 1960s and early 1970s; it consisted of paperback novels about tough malecharacters navigating the pitfalls of urban life. These novels appealed mainly to inner-cityreaders who felt left out of civil rights’ and Black Power’s promises of social equality.Despite the historic achievements of the civil rights movement, entrenched structuralinequalities led to America’s ghettos becoming sites of concentrated poverty, rampantunemployment, and violent crime. While mainstream society seemed to turn a blind eyeto how these problems were destroying inner-city communities, readers turned to black  pulp fiction for the imaginative resources that would help them reflect on their socialreality. In black pulp fiction, readers found confirmation that America was not on the path toward extending equal opportunities to its most vulnerable citizens, or that the riseof Black Power signaled a change in their fortunes. Yet in black pulp fiction readers alsofound confirmation that their lives as marginalized subjects possessed a value of its own,and that their day-to-day struggles opened up new ways of “being black” amid the blightof the inner city.
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