Date of Award
M.A. in Southern Studies
At a moment when scholarship regarding traditional music in the U.S. South attempts to transcend outdated confines and limitations, the region itself experiences significant and unforeseen demographic changes. These cultural shifts call into question the foci of documentary efforts and trigger a reassessment of the study of "southern music." This project looks to the longstanding omission and ignorance of both American Indian and immigrant musical forms from the documentation and study dedicated to the region's important performative traditions. Specifically, the continued neglect of the fiddle tradition of the Choctaw Indians, an ongoing musical custom which this southeastern cultural group has maintained for at least two centuries, serves as a valuable reminder of the loss that occurs when traditions are overlooked because they fail to meet predetermined criteria or cultural expectations. Likewise, certain obscure ethnic musical performances which were captured in the South during the golden era of prewar commercial location recording illustrate that the business of racial categorizing and marketing, much like documentary prioritizing, has its problematic results and leaves a troubled legacy of absences and gaping omissions. However, within these absences there remain numerous lessons to be learned and musical worlds to be explored. This project seeks to explore why such omissions occur and how they can be avoided within a region currently undergoing major cultural and demographic shifts.
Fussell, Jake Xerxes, "Out Of This World: Hearing Indigenous And Immigrant Music In The American South" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 875.