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New Orleans Creolization and all that Jazz von Ostendorf, Berndt (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 25.03.2013
  • Verlag: Studienverlag
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New Orleans

Ralph Ellison once wrote that the rules of performance in American culture are jazz-shaped. This book explores the Afro-creole core culture of New Orleans as the mainspring of this energizing music. Much of the cultural capital of the city is buried in a complex, tripartite racial history, which threatens the binary logic of North American racism with all sorts of sensual transgressions. Its jazz-derived culture combines elements of African, French, Spanish and Anglo-American cultural practices which in their fusion have created a unique propulsive energy: Second line parades, jazz funerals, Mardi Gras Indians, Cajun and creole foodways, minstrelsy, dance, ragtime and jazz will be interpreted as the result of a set of historical circumstances unique to this Caribbean metropolis of the senses. Including a preface by Günter Bischof and pictures by Michael P. Smith The author: Berndt Ostendorf studied History, philosophical Anthropology and English at the universities of Freiburg, Glasgow and Philadelphia. From 1976 to 1980 he was Professor of American Studies at the Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe University Frankfurt and from 1981 to 2005 Professor of North American Cultural History and director of the Amerika Institur at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich. Ostendorf also was visiting professor at the University of New Orleans, Harvard University, University of Massachusetts and Venice International University.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: watermark
    Seitenzahl: 204
    Erscheinungsdatum: 25.03.2013
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783706557214
    Verlag: Studienverlag
    Serie: Transatlantica Vol.7
    Größe: 1801 kBytes
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New Orleans

Günter Bischof

The essays in this volume are a tribute to and a showpiece of the ascendancy of the American Studies field in post-World War II Germany and Western Europe. Berndt Ostendorf has been a leading figure in that new field in postwar Europe. He does not shy away from making frequent references to his own intellectual autobiography in these essays. His chapter "Growing up in the Fifties: Jazz, the Cold War and the Birth of American Studies" represents a veritable showpiece of postwar intellectual formation of a young German escaping the burdens of German Nazi history by way of total immersion in American popular culture. He demonstrates how the new opportunities offered by student exchange programs – what today we call "international student mobility" – allowed young Germans (and young Austrians like myself) to embark on trajectories of "Westernization" and "Americanization". Such escapes helped mastering difficult pasts and open new windows for post-Nazi intellectual formation. Clearly his visits of the United States as a high school pupil and later as a university student and lecturer offered personal and intellectual windows to a new life. Such a new world, both less stultifying and more inviting to foreigners, put Ostendorf on the path towards becoming a shaper of postwar German and Western European discourses about America.

Ostendorf held the chair of American Studies in Munich for more than 20 years (1981–2005) and produced a steady flow of essays and articles that defined many aspects of American cultural studies in the postwar European American Studies movement. He was a key "translator" and mediator of American academic discourses in Germany and Western Europe and in the process helped shape those debates on the continent. He was one of the first to venture into "black studies" in Europe, thus contributing to the formation of African-American cultural studies discourses in the 1980s. He was a key impresario in grounding the " multi-Kulti "-debate in Germany in the 1990s in the larger American context of that discourse. He contributed to a thorough understanding of American popular music and introduced it to the ethno-musicology discourses in Germany.

As chair of American Studies he regularly invited top-notch and cutting-edge American academics to come as Fulbright guest professor to his " Amerika-Institut " at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. These guests immersed the Munich students in their innovative research interests and thus contributed to uplift them to participate in those innovative discourses. Both Sidney Mintz and the late George McGovern, the 1972 nominee for President of the Democratic Party (who also held a PhD in American History), taught in Munich as Eric Voegelin guest professors. When I served as a visiting guest lecturer in Munich in 1993/1994, David Blight (then Amherst College, now Yale University) was involved in doing his path-breaking research on Civil War memory later published in the prize-winning book Race and Reunion . Through these prominent visitors the Munich students came to inhale and reflect these discourses, at times even before they came to dominate the American intellectual landscape. Munich students often knew about these academic debates before they became popular in the US. So it went with many superstars of American academia who came to the Ostendorf's Amerika Institut in Munich.

Ostendorf's New Orleans essays collected in this volume give a cross-section of his amazingly diverse yet idiosyncratic contributions to the field of American cultural studies as seen through the lens and mirror of the rich cultural history of the Crescent City. Ostendorf penned these

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