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Music, Politics, and Violence

Susan Fast

Publication Year: 2012

Music and violence have been linked since antiquity in ritual, myth, and art. Considered together they raise fundamental questions about creativity, discourse, and music's role in society. The essays in this collection investigate a wealth of issues surrounding music and violence--issues that cross political boundaries, time periods, and media--and provide cross-cultural case studies of musical practices ranging from large-scale events to regionally specific histories. Following the editors' substantive introduction, which lays the groundwork for conceptualizing new ways of thinking about music as it relates to violence, three broad themes are followed: the first set of essays examines how music participates in both overt and covert forms of violence; the second section explores violence and reconciliation; and the third addresses healing, post-memorials, and memory. Music, Politics, and Violence affords space to look at music as an active agent rather than as a passive art, and to explore how music and violence are closely--and often uncomfortably--entwined.

CONTRIBUTORS include Nicholas Attfield, Catherine Baker, Christina Baade, J. Martin Daughtry, James Deaville, David A. McDonald, Kevin C. Miller, Jonathan Ritter, Victor A. Vicente, and Amy Lynn Wlodarski.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Series: Music Culture

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

This book represents the culmination of a long journey. After watching the first mass-mediated post-9/11 benefit concert unfold its narrative of American jingoism, delivered through a normative representational politics newly emboldened by the crisis, we thought it urgent to write about these events....

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pp. 1-33

Although it is now commonplace to observe that we can destroy ourselves and the planet in ways unimaginable to those living even two generations ago, the sheer fact of this capacity has given rise to an unprecedented interest — from sociologists, philosophers, lawyers, political scientists and...

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pp. 35-37

The chapters in Part I ask how, in the context of war, music becomes a means through which violence is perpetuated off the battlefi eld, how it is used as a mechanism to extend and deepen the physical wounds suffered in war by further delineating categories of difference and separation — what...

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1. “A Healing Draft for a Sick People”: War in the Pages of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 1914–1918

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pp. 39-59

These words, the work of the nineteenth-century German historian Heinrich von Treitschke, might reasonably alarm the modern reader. After a century of apocalyptic confl cts, not to mention the desperate pleas for peace that they have brought in tow, the notion of war as something salutary — as...

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2. The Afterlife of Neda Ukraden: Negotiating Space and Memory through Popular Music after the Fall of Yugoslavia, 1990–2008

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pp. 60-82

An essay by Dubravka Ugrešic´ tells the story of the singer “Neda U.,” who “came from Sarajevo, and her songwriter, N., [who] came from Zagreb.” Neda “became . . . a Serb” during the war in Croatia when the Yugoslav National Army (INA) and Croatian Serb rebels opposed Croatia’s secession...

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3. Between the Lines: “Lili Marlene,” Sexuality, and the Desert War

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pp. 83-103

“Lili Marlene” was “the most bewitching, haunting, sentimental song of the war” in the words of the British Captain C. F. Milner, who was stationed in North Africa during the Second World War.1 Although now closely associated with Marlene Dietrich, the song first became popular...

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4. The Changing Sounds of War: Television News Music and Armed Conflicts from Vietnam to Iraq

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pp. 104-126

From their earliest days, moving images have served as the privileged medium for the public representation of armed conflict, from the Spanish-American War of 1898 to the countless military skirmishes and wars of the early twenty-first century. As Paul Virilio has pointedly observed, “war is...

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In chapter 5, David McDonald introduces us to the second theme of the book: music, violence, and reconciliation. McDonald analyzes the music of several influential Palestinian performers from the time of the al-Aqsa intifada (2002–2006) and reveals the complex and diverse strategies that...

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5. Revivals and New Arrivals: Protest Song in the Al-Aqsa Intifada

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pp. 129-149

Tanks and troops had begun to arrive around 7:00 pm, April 2, 2002, positioning themselves adjacent to Jenin’s Arabeh and Salem neighborhoods. By 2:00 am the shelling began. Tanks and heavy artillery bombarded the city from the north, south, and west, while Israeli ground troops entered...

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6. Pax Mevlana: Mevlevi Sufi Music and the Reconciliation of Islam and the West

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pp. 150-170

This quatrain is reprinted often in anthologies of Persian or sacred texts4 and is turned into living culture by its adornment of innumerable Internet blogs and websites as well as its frequent intoning over instrumental musical accompaniment at sacred and semi-sacred gatherings in many corners...

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7. Choreographing (against) Coup Culture: Reconciliation and Cross-Cultural Performance in the Fiji Islands

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pp. 171-193

The island nation of Fiji, a former sugar colony of the British Empire, is unique among its Pacific neighbors for its particular postcolonial predicament. This scattering of over 300 tropical islands in the South Pacific is today shared between two previously disparate ethnic groups brought together...

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In the final section of the book we turn to explore ways in which music helps us remember acts of subjective and objective violence. Through these articles we are reminded that commemoration shapes our experience both in terms of what we are summoned to remember as well as what we are...

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8. Complementary Discourses of Truth and Memory: The Peruvian Truth Commission and the Canción Social Ayacuchana

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pp. 197-222

On December 21, 1982, in the city of Ayacucho, Peru, two Shining Path guerrillas entered the regional office of the National Institute of Culture (INC) and shot and killed its director, Walter Wong. As was typical of many Shining Path assassinations, no communiqué or other public statement was...

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9. National Identity after National Socialism: German Receptions of the Holocaust Cantata, Jüdische Chronik (1960/1961)

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pp. 223-242

The tracing of collective memory in postwar Germany has proven difficult for scholars of all disciplines due to the division of the state into the Federal Republic of Germany (FRD) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Historian Jeffrey Herf argues that the writing of new postwar historiographies...

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Afterword: From Voice to Violence and Back Again

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pp. 243-263

Inhalation introduces fresh energy into the organism; it marks the body’s submission to the cyclical microrhythms of life (i.e., it is the upbeat to exhalation’s downbeat); and it represents an accumulation and crystallization of potential. Potential what? Potential everything: with inhalation,...


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pp. 265-293

List of Contributors

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pp. 295-297


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pp. 299-308

Further Reading

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pp. 309-311

E-ISBN-13: 9780819573391
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819573377

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Music Culture