This scholarly exploration of Hamilton encourages audiences to interpret this popular culture force in a new way by revealing that the musical confronts conventional perceptions of American history, racial equity, and political power. Contributors explore the ways in which the musical offers social commentary on issues such as immigration and gender equity, as well as how Hamilton re-considers the roles of theatre in making social statements, especially relating to the narrator, the curtain speech, and musical traditions. Several chapters directly address recent controversies and conversations surrounding Hamilton, including the #CancelHamilton trend on social media, the musical's depiction of slavery, and its intersections with the Black Lives Matter movement. Employing multiple novel theoretical approaches and perspectives—including public memory, feminist rhetorical criticism, disability studies, and sound studies— The Revolutionary Rhetoric of Hamilton reveals new insights about this beloved show for scholars of theatre studies, media studies, communication studies, and fans alike.
Luke Winslow is assistant professor of rhetorical studies in the Department of Communication at Baylor University.
Nancy J. Legge is professor in the Department of Communication, Media, and Persuasion at Idaho State University.
Jacob Justice is assistant professor of speech communication and the director of forensics in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi.
Introduction: Turning the World Upside Down
Nancy J. Legge, Jacob Justice, and Luke Winslow
Section I: Revelations About History
Talya Peri Slaw and Jacob Justice
Jessica L. Gehrke
Nancy J. Legge
Sarah Mayberry Scott
Section II: Revelations About Race
5Casting as a Rhetorical Act: Color-Purposeful Casting and Hamilton’s Anti-White
Ailea G. Merriam-Pigg
6Hamilton’s Revolutionary Aesthetic: Race, Hip hop, and the American Style
Luke Winslow and Jonathan Veal
7Hamilton, Social Revolution, and the Black Lives Matter Movement
Caleb George Hubbard
Section III: Revelations About Socio-Political Issues
8Immigrants: Getting the Job Done Then and Now
Judith P. Roberts
9The Sphere Where it Happens: Reading Hamilton’s Representations of the Public/Private
Sphere as Gendered, Restraining, and Revolutionary
Erika M. Thomas
Section IV: Revelations About Broadway
10Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells the Story: Hip-Hope, Antagonist-Narrators, and the
Impact of Musical Genre on Storytelling
Max Dosser and Kevin Pabst
11Aaron Burr vs. Mike Pence: Curtain Speeches and Controversy
12Hamilton and the Genre of the Politicized Broadway Musical: Following the Rhetorical Tradition, Twisting the Rhetorical Tradition
Theodore F. Sheckels
About the Authors