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Amanda Martinez

Contact Information

Email    amamartinez@ucla.edu
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Fields of Study

20th Century U.S. History; Race and Popular Music; Urban/Suburban History


My dissertation analyzes the social, economic, and political benefits white, urban, and affluent Americans received from adopting a “country” identity between 1964 and 1994. Though economically advantaged Americans frequently found value in co-opting a white and rural persona during this period, this behavior often came at the direct expense of the very people being idolized. The main subject of my work looks at a growing consumption of country music, and chronicles periods like the “redneck chic” moment of the 1970s, and the “Urban Cowboy” craze of the 1980s. I also consider the value corporations such as Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and The Ford Motor Company found in associating their brands with country music, and the similar advantages major figures like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush found in appealing to the music during their presidencies. Overall, my work is particularly interested in the role country music played in perpetuating a whiteness defined by wholesomeness and agrarianism, and how and why the music’s overwhelmingly urban, and middle to upper class audience remained drawn to the genre.


Eric Avila, Committee Chair

Robin Kelley

Robert Fink

Charles Hughes (Rhodes College)


C. Phil, History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2018

M.A. History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2018

B.A. History, University of California, Berkeley, 2012