Global circulations of Jazz

International conference

  • Thursday 27th and Friday 28th June 2013
  • 2:00 pm -9:00 pm and 9:30 am - 7:00 pm
  • Cinema Room
  • free entrance

An international conference entitled "Global Circulations of Jazz" will be held from 27th - 28th June 2013, at the musée du quai Branly. Bringing together specialists, anthropologists, historians, musicologists, sociologists, the dissemination of jazz outside of its places of birth will be explored. We will look at this ‘other jazz’, whose history is hardly known. Jazz music circulated very early on and engendered particularly rich and fertile musical and cultural progeny around the world.
The papers presented will increase our understanding of the spread of jazz in South Africa, in Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean, South America and even in India and Asia. This "global" jazz prefigured the great globalization of popular music in the  20th and 21st centuries, but  remains  poorly  documented.  The conference will bring together researchers from different countries, who have begun to address, preferably on an empirical basis, these secondary circuits of diffusion.

The conference will conclude with the screening of a documentary on the dissemination of jazz in India entitled "Finding Carlton. Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India", followed by a discussion with the director, Susheel Kurien.

Conference topics:   

Contrary to common opinion, musical forms do not circulate spontaneously, but require the establishment of distribution networks, the work of cultural actors and the involvement of public institutions or private organizations. Therefore the international dissemination of music, including jazz, did not happen by itself, as Pierre Bourdieu points out regarding the circulation of ideas ("The social conditions of the international circulation of ideas", in Richard Shusterman (ed.), Bourdieu. A Critical Reader, Blackwell, 1999, p. 220-228).

The history of jazz has often been built around the idea of a "jazz tradition" of essentialist inspiration. This history brought together different musical genres, different places, different styles and multiple socio-­historical contexts in an evolutionary progression, as shown by Scott DeVeaux (‘Constructing the Jazz Tradition: Jazz Historiography’, Black American Literature Forum 25 (3), 1991, p. 525-‐60). However, the history of jazz can also be regarded as a multiplicity of stories, sometimes parallel to, sometimes divergent with, different branches, linked to places and social worlds in which jazz was listened to and played. In such places, local musicians and audiences developed different and even competing definitions of jazz.

In addition, the history of jazz before World War II in peripheral cultural areas is difficult to write because most of the musicians did not record at all, or very little. The history of this music is essentially based upon physical evidence, mostly sound recordings. Therefore we must look for other sources of information, such as the testimony of those who lived during that period of time. Whatever traces left by musicians, leaders or sidemen are also valuable. Methods derive from oral and cultural history, anthropology and historical sociology, as well as from the political economy of communication owing to the importance of distribution networks, the role of the local and international music industry and the political dimension of the circulation of jazz.

The conference will clarify the concrete modalities of the international movement of  a  musical  form,  focusing,  in  particular,  on  exporters  (foreign  musicians,  agents, cultural industries) and importers (local musicians, audiences, cultural institutions). The conference intends to highlight these cultural intermediaries, but also to examine the dynamics of broadcast networks, the role of national and international music industries as well as the essential role of places (night clubs, theatres, etc.). Jazz established itself and developed, actually, in multiple arenas from South America to Asia to Africa.

This conference will take a fresh look at the sociology of cultural globalization and help synthetizing localized research studies, allowing us to transform our vision of jazz history focused up to this point on its major centres of creation (United States,
Europe). This conference will thus actively contribute to a more precise definition of the contours of ‘global jazz’.

Organizing Committee:   

Stéphane Dorin, CESSP (EHESS-­‐CNRS-­‐Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne) Catherine Servan-­‐Schreiber, CEIAS (CNRS-­‐EHESS), Panagiota Anagnostou (IEP Bordeaux) Anne Monier (EHESS), Nowak Florence (EHESS),
Myrtille Picaud (EHESS).

Scientific Committee
Chair: Steven Feld (University of New Mexico)
Marc  Chemillier  (EHESS),  Stéphane  Dorin  (Université  Paris  8),  Tim  Dowd  (Emory
University), Jean-­‐Louis Fabiani (EHESS, CEU Budapest), Gisa Jähnichen (Humboldt-­‐ University of Berlin), Wenceslas Lizé (Université de Poitiers), Denis-­‐Constant  Martin (IEP Bordeaux), Carol Müller (University of Pennsylvania), Goffredo Plastino (University of Newcastle), Damon Phillips (Columbia), Olivier Roueff (CNRS), Marco Santoro (Università di Bologna), Catherine Servan-­‐Schreiber (CNRS), Catherine Tackley (Open University).

Submitting papers:   

This call for papers is aimed at scholars as well as doctoral students from various disciplines. Papers should rest on empirical work, while not being purely descriptive, and discuss the results, theoretical issues and methods. Papers around various countries and cultural areas are welcome, as well as those addressing the topics in a comparative perspective.

Proposals  may  be  submitted  in  French  or  English.  Each  proposal  shall  contain  the following:
− Author (s)
− Title (s)
− Affiliation (s)
− Discipline (s)
− Address (es)
− Title of the paper
− Summary (between 3000 and 4000 characters spaces included)
− Key referencesProposals should be sent in Word format before April 5, 2013 to the following

This is also the contact address for any query about proposals, paper submission or general questions 
Answers after peer review by April 26, 2013.