African & African American Studies Faculty Database
African & African American Studies
Arts & Sciences
Duke University

 HOME > Arts & Sciences > AAAS > Faculty    Search Help Login pdf version printable version 

Mark A. Neal, James B. Duke Professor of African and African American Studies and Professor of English and Chair

Mark A. Neal

Mark Anthony Neal is Chair of the Department of African & African American Studies and the founding director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE) at Duke University where he offers courses on Black Masculinity, Popular Culture, and Digital Humanities, including signature courses on Michael Jackson & the Black Performance Tradition, and The History of Hip-Hop, which he co-teaches with Grammy Award Winning producer 9th Wonder (Patrick Douthit).

He also co-directs the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity (DCORE).

He is the author of several books including What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (1999), Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic (2002) and Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities (2013).  The 10th Anniversary edition of Neal’s New Black Man was published in February of 2015 by Routledge. Neal is co-editor of That's the Joint: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge), now in its second edition. Additionally Neal host of the video webcast Left of Black, which is produced in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke. You can follow him on Twitter at @NewBlackMan.

Contact Info: 
Office Location:  Science Building, 243F, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 684-3987
Email Address: send me a message
Web Pages:

Teaching (Fall 2019):

    East Duke 204B, TuTh 06:15 PM-07:30 PM
    (also cross-listed as VMS 230.01)

Ph.D.State University of New York at Buffalo1996
M.A.Suny Coll Fredonia1993
B.A.Suny Coll Fredonia1987

Cultural Studies
African-American Literature
Research Interests:

I am engaged in interdisciplinary scholarly work in the fields of African-American, Cultural, and Gender Studies that draws upon modes of inquiry informed by the fields of literary theory, urban sociology, social history, postmodern philosophy, Queer theory and most notably popular culture. My broad project is to interrogate popular culture--music, television, film, and literature--produced within the context of Afro-diasporic expressive cultures. It is my belief that popular culture represents an arena of knowledge that has a profound impact on societal and cultural norms in the United States and globally, but one that has been largely underscrutinized as a "serious" site of scholarly and theoretical study. It is also my belief that commercial popular culture represents a distinct site of ideological production, thus my own work aims to engage the ideological undercurrents within commercial popular culture particularly within the context of race, gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity.


African American business enterprises • African American mass media • Black Cultural Studies • Black Masculinity • Black Popular Culture • Black Popular Music • Digital media • Music

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Matthew Sommoroff  
  • Micah Gilmer  
  • Jenny Woodruff  
  • Jeremy Smith  
  • Alisha Gaines  
  • Bianca Robinson  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Neal, MA, New Black Man (April, 2005), Routledge (Reviews: The Washington Post, May 22, 2005; Chicago Sun-Times, May 29, 2005; Free Inquiry, August/September 2005, 55; Journal of American Culture, December 2005, Vol. 28 Issue 4, 448-449;.) [resources.asp]
  2. Neal, MA; Forman, M, That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (September, 2004), Routledge (Reviews: The Boston Globe October 7, 2004 cles/2004/10/07/scholars_capture_essence_of_ hip_hop/ The Dallas Morning News November 26, 2004 fea/entertainment/stories/112704dnlivbooks.3 f7fd.html.)
  3. Neal, MA, Songs in the Key of Black Life: A Rhythm and Blues Nation (June, 2003), Routledge/Taylor and Francis
  4. Neal, MA, Soul babies: Black popular culture and the post-soul aesthetic (February, 2013), pp. 1-210, Routledge/Taylor and Francis, ISBN 9780203950623 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Neal, MA, What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (October, 1998), Routledge/Taylor and Francis
  6. Mark Anthony Neal, Freedom Summer Remembered: A Conversation with Denise Nicholas, THE BACKLIST—A PUBLISHING AND LITERARY NEWSLETTER OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN INTEREST (October, 2005) [html]
  7. Neal, MA, White Chocolate: Teena Marie and Lewis Taylor, Popular Music, vol. 24 no. 3 (October, 2005), Cambridge, ISSN 1474-0095
  8. Mark Anthony Neal, "Rhythm and Bullshit: The Slow Decline of R&B (Rhythm and Blues)", ALTERNET.ORG (July 8, 2005) [available here]
  9. Neal, MA, The Tortured Soul of Marvin Gaye and R. Kelly, in Da Capo Best Music Writing 2004, edited by Hart, M (October, 2004), Da Capo Press
  10. Neal, MA, A Way Out of No Way: Jazz, Hip Hop and Black Social Improvisation, in The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue, edited by Heble, A; Fischlin, D (Spring, 2004), Wesleyan
  11. Neal, MA, The Birth of New Blackness: The Family Stand’s Moon in Scorpio, in Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock N’ Roll, edited by Horse, KC (January, 2004), Palgrave Macmillan
  12. Mark Anthony Neal, It's Your Nigger Problem, Not Hip-Hop's, BLACK AGENDA REPORT (December 6, 2006) [php]
Conferences Organized

  • Curator : Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies. December 1, 2012, Curator : Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies, April 6-7, 2012  

Duke University * Arts & Sciences * AAAS * Faculty * Staff * Grad Students * Postdoctoral Associa * Reload * Login