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Jazzgeist: racial signs in twisted times
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 16:36 authored by Raminder Kaur KahlonRaminder Kaur Kahlon, Partha Banerjea
This article investigates the changing currency of racial politics in jazz music formations, with a comparative focus on Nazi and contemporary Germany. While it is noted that music articulates politics in an oblique or metonymic way, in highly-charged contexts music is lent further propositional capacity. This is highlighted in Nazi Germany where jazz music was seen as barbaric, `dark' and uncivilized, and classical music represented order and cultural supremacy. These dynamics continue but, often, in a slightly askew form for contemporary articulations of racial essentialisms: present-day fascist music is a repository of whiteness, but `darkness' is sought in this putatively `white' music, while jazz now serves as a moniker of comfort, and an `antiquated civility'. Each of these musical cultures invokes hybridity in a differential sense - either hybridity is suppressed or it is masked within racially essential matrices. These musical trajectories form the backdrop to an appreciation of the overlooked yet significant jazz dance fusion scene in contemporary Germany - where hybridity is fetishized, arguably as a means of renegotiating violent histories and contemporary racisms in Europe.
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Department affiliated with
- Anthropology Publications
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