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Subversive SoundsRace and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans$
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Charles B. Hersch

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226328676

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226328690.001.0001

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(p.203) Conclusion
Subversive Sounds

Charles B. Hersch

University of Chicago Press

The emergence of jazz in New Orleans was unique, a function of the city's complex race relations and profusion of musical forms. At the same time, the story of jazz's birth reflects America's intricate racial negotiations, negotiations that continue to this day. Using the story of early New Orleans jazz, this concluding chapter explores larger issues concerning the relationship between music, racial identity, and political reality. It suggests that this music created the possibility of what it calls racial intersubjectivity, a kind of opening of the racial self to the racial Other. It also argues that we still implicitly embrace racial purity but that early New Orleans jazz offers a new way of thinking about race relations. It then returns to the music itself, presenting an alternative approach to thinking about jazz and race and suggesting how this approach might alter the ways we write jazz history.

Keywords:   jazz, New Orleans, race relations, racial identity, racial purity, racial intersubjectivity, race

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