Felicia Angeja Viator

Associate Professor of History and Future Teachers Advisor, San Francisco State University

About Felicia

Viator’s research centers on histories of American popular culture. Her writing explores a wide range of topics, including horror media, entertainment economies, music, fashion, and protest.  Viator's scholarship –including her book, To Live and Defy in LA (Harvard University Press, 2020) and essays for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Review of Books –– engages with general audiences, and in her editing work Viator helps other scholars communicate complex arguments in plain language. 

In the News

Opinion: "Language Matters in the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial," Felicia Angeja Viator, The Washington Post, November 4, 2021.
Opinion: "Video of the Police Assault of Rodney King Shocked Us. But What Did It Change?," Felicia Angeja Viator, The Washington Post, March 3, 2021.
Guest on ABC Radio Network's Blueprint, November 14, 2020.
Opinion: "The Explicit Anthem of Anti-Racist Protest," Felicia Angeja Viator, The Washington Post, June 22, 2020.
Guest on LARB Radio Hour, April 20, 2020.


"Not Only Compton: Gangster Rap, Policing, and Protest" in The Routledge History of Police Brutality in America, edited by Thomas Aiello (Taylor & Francis, Forthcoming).

Demonstrates how 1980s reality rappers -- or "gangster rappers" -- popularized their own rebellion, and in doing so, made young Black perspectives on American society and its abuses a driving force in American culture.

""To Live and Defy in LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America" (Harvard University Press, 2020).

Explores the history of Los Angeles rap, how it shocked America, made millions, and pulled back the curtain on an urban crisis.

"West Coast Origins: A Case for Reassessing the "Bronx West" Story of Black Youth Culture in 1980s Los Angeles," American Studies with American Studies International, October 16, 2019.

Interrogates the standard hip-hop history narrative and its familiar tropes.

""Abraça a Tristeza" Fado and Fadocore Music in the California Central Valley,”" in Untamed Dreams: Faces of America, edited by Francisco Henrique Dinis and José do Couto Rodrigues (Portuguese Heritage Publications of California,, 2016).

Explores the history of immigrant folk traditions in the Central Valley of California through the region's punk music scene.