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dc.contributor.advisorTucker, Sherrie
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Peter
dc.date.accessioned2013-09-29T16:36:34Z
dc.date.available2013-09-29T16:36:34Z
dc.date.issued2013-08-31
dc.date.submitted2013
dc.identifier.otherhttp://dissertations.umi.com/ku:12952
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1808/12249
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores avant-garde jazz in Kansas City in the late 20th and early 21st centuries to find out how they both reproduce and complicate narratives of jazz history and norms of race and gender. Working in a city associated with an historical subgenre--"Kansas City Jazz"--and in a style whose histories limit avant-garde activity largely to New York City, these musicians pay respect to that history even while their performances complicate it. As practices of improvisation that use music, dance, costumes, and visual art, their performances highlight the embodied aspects of identity--the ways that bodies move with and against norms of race and gender and through space. My dissertation thus seeks to show how local, avant-garde, improvised performances can speak about power relations on a broader scale. The title of my dissertation indicates three primary questions for this study: How do experimental performances that seem "weird" both challenge and reproduce normative ways of thinking about race, gender, and power? In what ways are bodies constrained aesthetically, socially, and historically, and how do they improvise within those constraints? How do avant-garde performances complicate the dominant history of jazz, making it "noisy"? This interdisciplinary study relies on several methodologies, including ethnographic interviews and participant-observation, oral history, and archival research. Chapter One establishes historical precedent for avant-garde jazz in Kansas City by examining performances and performers in the 1960's, showing how local musicians in the scene both complicated and reproduced dominant historical narratives about one of the "cradles of jazz." Chapter Two analyzes several recent performances in Kansas City that use humor and the bodily noise of laughter to point out and critique social inequities while also reproducing social hierarchies. Chapter Three explores the complex questions of appropriation, cultural borrowing, and influence that arise when three white musicians in Kansas City cross imaginary racial lines to perform avant-garde music. Chapter Four looks closely at several performers associated with musician Mark Southerland, whose "wearable horn sculptures" highlight the role of the body in improvisation while they both reinforce and complicate normative gender roles.
dc.format.extent275 pages
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansas
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
dc.subjectAmerican studies
dc.subjectMusic
dc.subjectAvant-garde
dc.subjectDance
dc.subjectImprovisation
dc.subjectJazz
dc.subjectKansas City
dc.subjectPerformance
dc.titleWeird Bodily Noises: Improvising Race, Gender, and Jazz History
dc.typeDissertation
dc.contributor.cmtememberHodges Persley, Nicole
dc.contributor.cmtememberWong, Ketty
dc.contributor.cmtememberDohoney, Ryan
dc.contributor.cmtememberHeffner Hayes, Michelle
dc.thesis.degreeDisciplineAmerican Studies
dc.thesis.degreeLevelPh.D.
kusw.oastatusna
kusw.oapolicyThis item does not meet KU Open Access policy criteria.
dc.rights.accessrightsopenAccess


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