Martinez-Amanda-018.jpg

I am a historian interested in the intersection of race, capitalism, and popular culture. I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, received my BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and my PhD in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race & Difference at Emory University. 

 

My book project, “‘The Industry is Playing the People Cheap: Race and the Country Music Business From Nixon to 9/11,” reframes the country music genre as the product of Black and Brown artists and listeners, and reveals how the music industry disregarded the music’s multiracial and multiethnic roots and embraced a politics of white conservatism. I argue that while Black and Brown artists resisted the industry’s exclusionary marketing practices and suggested country music had the potential to become a symbol of multiracialism, the music business instead found it more financially valuable to cling to the optics of whiteness. During the rise of the New Right, I reveal how the music industry branded country as the sound of wholesome, family-friendly white conservatism.

 

My writing has appeared in California History, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. I am a former Diversity Dissertation Fellow at Middle Tennessee State University, Doris G. Quinn Foundation Fellow, and have received fellowship support from the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.