Southern Soul, Southern Slam: The Jambalaya Soul Slam and Bull City Slam Team Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Hall, Jackson
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of American Studies
  • This thesis is an ethnography of the Jambalaya Soul Slam and Bull City Slam Team based in Durham, North Carolina. Specifically, incorporating elements of thick description and documentary photography, this ethnography investigates how the poets of the Jambalaya Soul Slam community and the Bull City Slam Team engage with the politics of southernness and Blackness in the ways they write, perform, discuss aesthetics, and hold space during local slams, regional competitions, and national competitions. Discourses of communitas and subjectivity are critical to poetry slam scholarship: How do poetry slams channel individual performances and crowd participation to become zones of communitas? How do poets, particularly the Black southern poets of the Jambalaya community, adapt the generative potential of communitas to re-write the scripts that white hegemony has imposed on their identities and their work? For the poets of the Jambalaya and the Bull City Slam Team, southernness becomes a means through which poets define how they engender communitas in the rooms they enter and how they discover alternate possibilities for what southern spoken aesthetics and identities, especially as the intersection of Blackness, can represent. Ultimately, the fact that the poets do not coalesce at a singular conception of what southernness means to their art and ethics is the point. For them, southernness is a much about coming together at a common table as it is about charting new paths of possibility—in how they write, how they perform, and how they hold community.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Hinson, Glenn
  • Pollock, Della
  • Berlinger, Gabrielle
  • Massenburg, Christopher
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2018

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