Crossovers: Essays on Race, Music, and American Culture

Overview

Ranging across genres from the popular to the scholarly, this selection of John Szwed's published essays abides in the intersection of race and art, jazz and rap: crossovers inside and outside the academy. With reviews written for the Village Voice and articles from academic journals, this volume includes essays, commentary, and meditations on James Agee and Walker Evans, Cuban folklorist Lydia Cabrera, Lafcadio Hearn, Melville Herskovits, Josef Skorvecky, Patrick Chamoiseau, pop song writer Ellie Greenwich, and ...

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Overview

Ranging across genres from the popular to the scholarly, this selection of John Szwed's published essays abides in the intersection of race and art, jazz and rap: crossovers inside and outside the academy. With reviews written for the Village Voice and articles from academic journals, this volume includes essays, commentary, and meditations on James Agee and Walker Evans, Cuban folklorist Lydia Cabrera, Lafcadio Hearn, Melville Herskovits, Josef Skorvecky, Patrick Chamoiseau, pop song writer Ellie Greenwich, and jazz musicians Sonny Rollins, Anthony Braxton, Sun Ra, and Ornette Coleman. Also included are pieces on the prehistory of hip hop, the blues, popular dance instruction songs, tap dance, and African American set dancing; creole writing and creolization; race and culture; and authenticity, representation, nostalgia, and obscenity in American popular culture, with excursions into jazz in Africa, Russia, and Argentina.

Written about a country with cultural crossroads everywhere, where the question of race is thoroughly woven into the fabric of society, these essays cross boundaries and shed light on the complexities of American life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this collection of thirty-one short articles, essays, and reviews written over a thirty-six-year period, John Szwed consistently displays the extraordinary imagination and ingenuity that have made him one of the most respected scholars in African-American and Afro-diasporic Studies. Crossovers is both a revealing intellectual history of Szwed's development as a scholar and critic, and a unified and integrated argument on behalf of the aesthetic, moral, and political genius of the African diaspora."—George Lipsitz, H-Urban

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812219722
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/2/2007
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Szwed is John M. Musser Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of numerous books, including So What: The Life of Miles Davis and Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra, and coauthor (with Roger D. Abrahams, Nick Spitzer, and Robert Farris Thompson) of Blues for New Orleans: Mardi Gras and America's Creole Soul, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Musical style and racial conflict
3. Musical adaptation among Afro-Americans
4. An American anthropological dilemma: the politics of Afro-American culture
5. Reconsideration: the myth of the Negro past
6. Reconsideration: Lafcadio Hearn in Cincinnati
7. The forest as moral document: the achievement of Lydia Cabrera
8. Race and the embodiment of culture
9. After the myth: studying Afro-American cultural patterns in the plantation literature
10. Speaking people, in their own terms
11. The lizards fake the fake
12. As it is prophesied, so it used to be
13. Greenwich's good gnosis
14. Free samples: Roy Nathanson and Anthony Coleman
15. Milling at the mall
16. Childhood's ends
17. Sweet feet
18. From "Messin' around" to "Funky western civilization": the rise and fall of dance instruction songs
19. The Afro-American transformation of European set dances and dance suites
20. All that beef, and symbolic action, too! : notes on the occasion of the banning of 2 Live Crew's As nasty as they wanna be
21. The real old school
22. Josef Skvorecky and the tradition of jazz literature
23. World views collide: the history of jazz and hot dance
24. Way down yonder in Buenos Aires
25. Improvising under apartheid: Afro blue
26. Sonny Rollins in the age of mechanical reproduction
27. Sun Ra, 1914-1993
28. Ornette Coleman: ?civilization
29. The local and the express: Anthony Braxton's title-drawings
30. Magnificent declension: Solibo magnificent
31. Metaphors of incommensurability

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