Culture on the Margins: The Black Spiritual and the Rise of American Cultural Interpretation

Culture on the Margins: The Black Spiritual and the Rise of American Cultural Interpretation

by Jon Cruz
ISBN-10:
0691004749
ISBN-13:
9780691004747
Pub. Date:
07/01/1999
Publisher:
Princeton University Press

Paperback

View All Available Formats & Editions
Current price is , Original price is $52.5. You
Select a Purchase Option (New Edition)

    Item is available through our marketplace sellers.

  • purchase options

Overview

Culture on the Margins: The Black Spiritual and the Rise of American Cultural Interpretation

In Culture on the Margins, Jon Cruz recounts the "discovery" of black music by white elites in the nineteenth century, boldly revealing how the episode shaped modern approaches to studying racial and ethnic cultures. Slave owners had long heard black song making as meaningless "noise." Abolitionists began to attribute social and political meaning to the music, inspired, as many were, by Frederick Douglass's invitation to hear slaves' songs as testimonies to their inner, subjective worlds. This interpretive shift—which Cruz calls "ethnosympathy"—marks the beginning of a mainstream American interest in the country's cultural margins. In tracing the emergence of a new interpretive framework for black music, Cruz shows how the concept of "cultural authenticity" is constantly redefined by critics for a variety of purposes—from easing anxieties arising from contested social relations to furthering debates about modern ethics and egalitarianism.

In focusing on the spiritual aspect of black music, abolitionists, for example, pivoted toward an idealized religious singing subject at the expense of absorbing the more socially and politically elaborate issues presented in the slave narratives and other black writings. By the end of the century, Cruz maintains, modern social science also annexed much of this cultural turn. The result was a fully modern tension-ridden interest in culture on the racial margins of American society that has long had the effect of divorcing black culture from politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691004747
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 07/01/1999
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 7.75(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix

Introduction 3

ONE The Conundrum of Authenticity 19

TWO Sound Barriers and Sound Management 43

THREE From Objects to Subjects 67

FOUR From Authentic Subjects to Authentic Culture 99

FIVE From Testimonies to Artifacts 124

SIX Institutionalizing Ethnosympathy 164

SEVEN Conclusion 189

EPILOGUE 200

NOTES 207

BIBLIOGRAPHY 259

SUBJECT INDEX 275

SONGS CITED INDEX 289

What People are Saying About This

A splendid and important book that clearly establishes Jon Cruz as one of the most significant cultural sociologists of his generation. The scope, depth, and originality of his theoretical analysis contributes to the general project of understanding cultural production, cultural 'objects,' and cultural interpretation and appropriation. The richness of his deployment of historical materials--whether travel diaries, sermons, or early journal articles--brings his analytic framework alive. Because his book engages crucial debates in history, ethnic studies, and cultural studies as well as in sociology, it should have a wide readership among academics in many fields.

Elizabeth Long

A splendid and important book that clearly establishes Jon Cruz as one of the most significant cultural sociologists of his generation. The scope, depth, and originality of his theoretical analysis contributes to the general project of understanding cultural production, cultural 'objects,' and cultural interpretation and appropriation. The richness of his deployment of historical materials--whether travel diaries, sermons, or early journal articles--brings his analytic framework alive. Because his book engages crucial debates in history, ethnic studies, and cultural studies as well as in sociology, it should have a wide readership among academics in many fields.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews