Predilection, progress and prejudice: coon songs and the construction of race in nineteenth century American culture
Matzinger, Ryan Joseph
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This is a study about the history of American culture and the construction of race through the musical idiom of coon songs. It is an examination of the jazz narrative and the role of blackface minstrelsy and coon songs, as they directly relate to the jazz tradition and the construction of race in nineteenth-century America. The modes of inquiry utilized are from the American Studies methodology and resulted in a more thorough, in-depth understanding of the construction of American race ideology, with a more complete, holistic perception of the jazz narrative. In a methodology that blends the excavation of less standard resources and research techniques that approach American history from further outside the chronological strictures and modes of conventional historical inquiry, the American Studies jazz-scholar-musician is compelled to live by, creatively inquire about, and more thoroughly comprehend the rationally intuitive values of jazz music and cultural literacy. In this study of race construction, coon songs, and the American jazz narrative as regarded from a revised conventional modality of jazz as American Studies, and American Studies as jazz, what's really on the line is the way American culture cultivates and also demolishes social and racial hierarchies through musical idioms.