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Rubble of Empires: The Lyrics and Politics of Rage Against the Machine

This research aims to produce a text combining essays and a reference guide to comprehensively detail the radical political themes and historical references in the work of the American Rap-Metal band ‘Rage Against the Machine’. Releasing three chart-topping rock albums during the 1990s, Rage Against the Machine embodied the spirit and political perspective of Post-Cold War left-wing radicalism that would erupt around the millennium in the ‘anti-globalisation movement’, and would re-emerge a decade later in the form of the Occupy movement and global anti-austerity protests. Rage Against the Machine’s lyrics provide a sophisticated critique of modern Western society, drawing on a rich array of historical and literary references to put forward statements on issues of race, poverty, war, exploitation and revolution. This work will both provide an encyclopaedic record of the numerous historical figures and events cited in their lyrics, and detail the content and theoretical background of the band’s political statements. The current relevance of their work will be illustrated by relating their ideas to contemporary international events and social movements.


Researchers

Dr David Robinson

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