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This chapter is an intervention in genre studies. With initial attention to the traditional consideration of noir and the place of race in noir studies, the chapter builds on James Naremore’s sense of noir as a discourse in “the history of an idea” and Manthia Diawara’s “noir by noirs.” Subsequently the chapter considers Chester Himes’s discrepant engagement of America in the language of the hard-boiled tradition and the black absurd toward a reframing of noir. Textual analysis of Bill Duke’s Deep Cover (1992) examines the possibilities of genre function (noir) and the discursivity of race (blackness) in terms of the modalities of noir blackness.

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