The aged south: old age and roots music in the us south, 1900-1945

Buck, Simon (2019) The aged south: old age and roots music in the us south, 1900-1945. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This dissertation investigates experiences and representations of old age and ageing in roots music of the US South from 1900-1945. During this period, aged musicians and depictions of old age were commonplace in southern roots music. This dissertation assesses
the meanings and functions of age and ageing in southern roots music in the context of the drastic economic, technological, political, social, racial, and cultural changes and tensions in the early twentieth century South. This study proposes that the production of ideas about old age in southern roots music figured into a range of anxieties about the modernising ‘New South’, and a corresponding nostalgia for the ‘Old South’.
This dissertation posits that the proliferation of older people and ideas about ‘elders’ in roots music also reflected and impacted on some of the realities and beliefs about the changing age demographics and generational dynamics of the era, such as those relating to life expectancy, retirement, pensions, and an evolving sense of ‘age consciousness’. Employing a multi- and interdisciplinary approach, this dissertation revaluates roots music and southern history with new analytical frameworks from the fields of medical humanities and age studies, with a particular focus on how issues of debility, disability, and ageism intersect with other power structures.
This dissertation adds the category of age to a growing literature on the cultural significances of early roots music and the mass media by analysing a range of textual, visual, and aural primary sources and synthesising secondary research to explore the age dimension of five domains of southern roots music: old fiddlers’ contests; aged musicians in the broadcasting and recording industries; ‘age masquerade’ on ‘barn dance’ radio; representations of old age on commercial ‘old-time’ and ‘race’ recordings; and folklorists John and Alan Lomax’s research for the Library of Congress into African American music.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lost cause, pension, country music, blues, ageing
Subjects: T700 American studies
V300 History by topic
W300 Music
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2020 08:34
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 19:01

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