Looking for a good read? Check out these recent books by Georgetown American Studies faculty.
Jazz Italian Style: From its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra, by Anna Celenza, Professor of Music
Jazz Italian Style explores a complex era in music history, when politics and popular culture collided with national identity and technology. When jazz arrived in Italy at the conclusion of World War I, it quickly became part of the local music culture. The book reveals how Italians made jazz their own, and how, by the mid-1930s, a genre of jazz distinguishable from American varieties and supported by Mussolini began to flourish in Northern Italy and in its turn influenced Italian-American musicians.
Remote Control, by Caetlin Benson-Allott, Associate Professor of English and Film and Media Studies
While we all use remote controls, we understand little about their history or their impact on our daily lives. Benson-Allott looks back on the remote control’s material and cultural history to explain how such an innocuous media accessory has changed the way we occupy our houses, interact with our families, and experience the world. From the first wired radio remotes of the 1920s to infrared universal remotes, from the homemade TV controllers to the Apple Remote, remote controls shape our media devices and how we live with them.
The Half-Life of Deindustrialization: Working-Class Writing about Economic Restructuring, by Sherry Linkon, Professor of English and American Studies
Through analysis of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, film, and drama, The Half-Life of Deindustrialization shows why people and communities cannot simply “get over” the losses of economic restructuring. The past provides inspiration and strength for working-class people, even as the contrast between past and present highlights what has been lost in the service economy. The memory of productive labor and stable, proud working-class communities shapes how people respond to contemporary economic, social, and political issues. These stories can help us understand the resentment, frustration, pride, and persistence of the American working class.
American Music Documentary: Five Case Studies of Ciné-Ethnomusicology, by Benjamin J. Harbert, Associate Professor of Music and Film and Media Studies
Documentary filmmakers have been making films about music for a half-century. American Music Documentary looks at five key films to begin to imagine how we might produce, edit, and watch films from an ethnomusicological point of view. Harbert lays the foundations for the study and practice of “ciné-ethnomusicology.” Interviews with directors and rich analysis from the disciplinary perspectives of film studies and ethnomusicology make this book a critical companion to some of the most celebrated music documentaries of the twentieth century.