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Popular Music and Society Special Issue: Jazz Diasporas

Posted: April 20th, 2020 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Guest Editors: Bruce Johnson and Adam Havas

Submissions are invited for a special issue of Popular Music and Society on jazz diasporas. This special issue is about how jazz circulated beyond its accepted sites of origin. This can be both international and intranational; that is, jazz outside the United States, but also jazz outside New Orleans. The latter has received extensive coverage in jazz historiography through geographically based stylistic typologies: Chicago, New York, Kansas City, West Coast. While there is also a growing literature on the international diaspora, both are dominated by essentialist metropolitan and national taxonomies. These approaches elide the dynamics of micro-localized scenes, how and why they are formed, what sort of networks they emerge from and develop. So, by way of example, more might be learned about the circulation of jazz by the study of international port cities and shipping routes than by generalisations based on an individual nation, or by the study of sub-urban scenes than under the rubric of a large city. To understand jazz, one must understand its diasporic reinventions.

Jazz historiography has also taken for granted an aesthetics based on an implicit autonomous teleology, a steady self-generated evolution towards a form of perfection through a succession of neatly categorized stylistic movements crowned by the “masterworks” of “great men” in the form of sound recordings. But careful analysis of diasporic forms can instructively challenge these models by exploring the contextual forces that shape the music both locally and globally. The shift away from a self-contained aesthetics to a broader cultural landscape is disclosing the profound importance of jazz in the formation of late modern cultural distinctions, as manifested in its means of production, dissemination, and consumption and in global negotiation with the local: the first new music of modern glocalization.

We are also interested in recognising the bewildering range of musics that have been performed and conceptualised under that label of jazz as it has circulated internationally. Why was the word “jazz” applied to musics that we would no longer recognise as such? How did they serve their functions for the musicians and audiences who enjoyed it as such? How does race- and place-based domination intersect with global forms of inequalities? In asking such questions, we learn more not only about the history of the music but also about the various diasporic cultures with which it negotiated.

Possible areas of study include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • Syncretisms between jazz and local musical traditions
  • Jazz and local ethnicities
  • Transnational jazz networks
  • Jazz and propaganda
  • New taxonomies and approaches to the study of jazz migrations
  • Jazz and global structures of neoliberal hegemony
  • International mediations as both channel and filter
  • Jazz and localized gender politics
  • Jazz performance and climate
  • Jazz and local political formations
  • Free jazz, DIY cultures, and local political formations of jazz

Send proposals of up to 300 words in the first instance. Please note that Popular Music and Society uses US spelling, as well as punctuation: periods and commas at the ends of sentences and phrases go inside quotation marks, not outside; use double quotation marks, not single; the single quotation mark is only used for the possessive case and for quotes within quotes.

Contributions will be peer-reviewed for potential inclusion in the main section of the journal. Indicate the name under which you would wish to be published, your professional / academic affiliations, a postal address, and preferred e-mail contact. Deadline for submission of proposals is July 31, 2020. We would hope to commission articles by November 30, 2020, and the deadline for submission of the articles will be December 31, 2021. Please copy e-mail proposals to both Guest Editors: Bruce Johnson at [email protected] and Adam Havas at [email protected].

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