By Jess Kusak
Nevada State College Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Daniel Grassian, Ph. D., casts an investigative eye on Hip-Hop generation writers, as he brings post-civil rights African American literature into focus. Dr. Grassian’s latest literary work, Writing the Future of Black America, which made its debut earlier this year, draws on the relevance of the literary works of Hip-Hop generation authors, which has served as the inspiration for a new generation of writers. Also serving as NSC’s Department Chair of Humanities, Dr. Grassian explores this new wave of writers, as he strives to engage a younger generation of readers.
The book critically examines the works of eight African American novelists, essayists, poets and playwrights of the Generation X era. Through his groundbreaking analysis, readers gain a unique insight into the literary works these authors produced in comparison to their civil rights era predecessors and their mostly white Generation X contemporaries.
As a scholar, I was interested in bringing attention to young African American writers who weren’t getting much critical acclaim, and I also wanted to explore the significance and the changing role of race, popular culture, hip-hop, ethnicity, and class in the late twentieth century, said Dr. Grassian. His scholarly pursuits for this endeavor allowed him to explore all of those topics.
Dr. Grassian’s interest in contemporary writers and the effects of their works on popular American culture can be traced back to his days as a doctoral candidate. His dissertation explored Generation X writers and their influence on the contemporary culture in America. I think it would be difficult to find many Americans younger than forty or so denying that hip-hop music has played a significant role in shaping contemporary American culture and identity.
During this process, Grassian discovered the works of a myriad of significantly talented African American writers. These writers were of the same generation as there white contemporaries, however, were not garnering the same acclaim in the public eye.
From Writing the Future of Black America, Dr. Grassian hopes to spark an interest in readers, students, and scholars alike, that will carry over into their own future studies. I hope that I will get readers thinking about not only the current and potential future status of the African American community, but also the role that race, popular culture, ethnicity, and class (among other topics) play in contemporary America.
Dr. Grassian’s previous works include Understanding Sherman Alexie, and Hybrid Fiction: American Literature and Generation X. His ongoing scholarship is yet another testament to the accomplished faculty the NSC campus community is privileged to have.
This semester, Dr. Grassian is teaching ENG 102: Composition II, and ENG 298: Writing About Literature.