Racialising music’s past and the media archive

Authored by: Nabeel Zuberi

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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From an academic location in media and cultural studies, this chapter addresses the multidisciplinary scholarship on race in histories of American popular music. This looking backwards is informed by a moment of danger in the present. Racist nationalisms are in the ascendancy. But liberal metaphors for the articulation of interracial relationships in music, and desires for human otherness, diversity and cosmopolitan consumption, also maintain white supremacy and its ways of listening and understanding others. The chapter interrogates how media such as phonographic records, documentaries, biopics and digital media technologies constitute archives that are performed to generate versions of popular music’s past, from racial hegemonies to alternative genealogies that seek to decentre and displace dominant racialised auralities.

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