Old-Time Canceled: Anti-Essentialist Approaches for Affective Communitas

J. Zavaan Johnson (Indiana University Bloomington)

The Fort Worth African American Roots Music Festival is a crucial space work against white-privileged imagined boundaries of Black musicality. This presentation explores the gap in critical scholarship that discounts the lived experiences of Black individuals in American Roots music festivals. The constellations of musical styles evoked by ‘American Roots’ can be seen throughout the festival with numerous musicians performing a variety of genres, fortified by musical Africanisms. Beyond dismantling the white imagination, I use historical analysis, interviews, and autoethnography to demonstrate a focal shift in African American Roots music research towards the expression of Black joy.

Part of 09-08 Re-Examining Musical Imaginaries: The Place of Sound in Shaping Community, Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm