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

Culture on the Margins

The Black Spiritual and the Rise of American Cultural Interpretation

By: Jon Cruz

Paperback Published: 21st July 1999
ISBN: 9780691004747
Number Of Pages: 280

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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.

Industry Reviews

"Culture on the Margins brilliantly [unravels] ... a crucial strand in the history of how the white investment in the black came to organize not only culture and politics in the United States but also social science...This theoretically exigent and beautifully written account also turns on claims about the meaning and use of spirituals for the slaves. For the emergence and disappearance of the black subject is the hinge of the story Cruz has to tell."--Michael Rogin, American Journal of Sociology

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
The Conundrum of Authenticityp. 19
Sound Barriers and Sound Managementp. 43
From Objects to Subjectsp. 67
From Authentic Subjects to Authentic Culturep. 99
From Testimonies to Artifactsp. 124
Institutionalizing Ethnosympathyp. 164
Conclusionp. 189
Epiloguep. 200
Notesp. 207
Bibliographyp. 259
Subject Indexp. 275
Songs Cited Indexp. 289
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691004747
ISBN-10: 0691004749
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: 21st July 1999
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.42

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