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Unfinished BusinessMichael Jackson, Detroit, and the Figural Economy of American Deindustrialization$
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Judith Hamera

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348589

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199348589.001.0001

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Still Unfinished …

(p.189) Coda
Unfinished Business

Judith Hamera

Oxford University Press

The coda to Unfinished Business begins with the election of Donald Trump as US president, presenting this as a bookend to the election of Ronald Reagan nearly four decades earlier. Racialized and racist responses to the deindustrial are as central to the Trump phenomenon as they were to the so-called Reagan Democrats. Yet Trumpist nostalgia for industrial labor ignores or misremembers these jobs’ debilitating dimensions, as stated in the 1972 federal report “Work in America.” The coda notes that Michael Jackson’s legacy as an exemplary entrepreneur has been successfully redeployed by a new generation of African American artists, and addresses the continued gestic potential of the Heidelberg Project in the wake of Tyree Guyton’s decision to remove parts of it. It concludes by asserting that, until myths of white supremacy are confronted and dismantled, no systemic attempt to redress the predations of the deindustrial can be successful.

Keywords:   deindustrial, race, Trump, nostalgia, “Work in America, ” Michael Jackson, Gary, Detroit, Heidelberg Project, Tyree Guyton

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