Jazzgeist: racial signs in twisted times

Kaur, Raminder and Banerjea, Partha (2000) Jazzgeist: racial signs in twisted times. Theory, Culture and Society, 17 (3). pp. 159-180. ISSN 0263-2764

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: fascism hybridity immigration jazz music whiteness
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Raminder KaurKahlon
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:08
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2012 10:28
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/10473
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