Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Cornbread and Cuchifritos: Ethnic Identity Politics, Transnationalization, and Trans-culturation in American Urban Popular Music

Date: May 18 - 20, 2009

Organizers: Wilfried Raussert (Bielefeld), Michelle Habell-PallŠn (Washington, Seattle)

The conference aims at tracing the routes of music and music's impact on identity formation and takes the popularity of U.S. American Popular music more or less for granted. We aim to explore its impact on identity politics within the Americas and beyond, music's interconnectedness to the emergence of new ethnicities (Hall) in urban contexts, and music's historical links to processes of intercultural exchange. A major emphasis lies on the ethnic impact of U.S. American Popular music with a specific emphasis on Latino/a influences both on music within the United States of America and on the migration of sounds and music genres beyond national borders. Hence the conference aims at differentiating and rewriting existing histories of the emergence of U.S. American Popular music which focus primarily on intercultural exchange between European and African as well African American forms by exploring the yet absent Latino/a presence within these musical histories. At the same time the conference intends to counter concepts of so-called world music, a label often used to homogenize fusion forms of music in times of globalization by emphasizing elements of ethnic as well aesthetic differences in U.S. American Popular music and its global/local variations.

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