"Hamilton" doesn't displace America's traditional celebratory narratives; it doesn’t center the history of slavery or tell the story of actual people of color at nation’s founding. In short, it isn’t offering a fundamentally different narrative to the one that many Americans learn about genius of nation and its founders. But that doesn't mean its political message--one that emphasizes that Americans of all races belong and have the right to tell the naton's origin story--isn't vitally important, especially in an era of resurgent white nationalism.
This lecture explores the popularity of the blockbuster musical, Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical has spawned sold-out performances, a triple platinum cast album, a Disney channel broadcast, and a score that has been used to teach U.S. history in classrooms across the country. Why has Hamilton been so successful and what does its popularity tell us about politics, culture, and racial attitudes in 21st century America? From exploring the musical’s representation of the past, its fan base, and its color-conscious casting, this lecture interrogates a musical that has become one of the most successful popular representations of American history in recent decades.