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Grant number: FA-57676-14

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FA-57676-14

David Fernando Garcia
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1350)

Music, Africa, and Race in the Mid-20th Century

My project uncovers a crucial moment (1930s-1950s) in the history of the African diaspora when a group of Africans, Americans, and Cubans promulgated a revaluation of black music's African origins in order to sway entrenched attitudes in American and Cuban society towards race and the so-called Dark Continent. Not only anthropologists but musicians, dancers, and activists as well insisted that objectively understanding black music's trajectory from its origins in Africa to the New World would help solve the problem of racism and raise support for Africa's decolonization. The book argues that their work marked a significant shift in, but not a complete break from, the legacy of nineteenth-century evolutionism. When black music "sounded" its African origins, some perceived those performing it as embodying modern man's primitive and barbaric past, whereas for others it signaled an emergent black cultural nationalism that would anticipate black music's politicization in the 1960s.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American Studies; Latin American Studies; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2014 – 4/30/2015