Introduction Vamping 'til Ready

in The Shadow and the Act

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780226554235
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226554259 | DOI:
Introduction Vamping 'til Ready

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This chapter concentrates on Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka to participate in the ongoing discourse that positions black writers within the lineage of American pragmatism. It connects definition with the work that critics, such as Ross Posnock, Michael Magee, Nancy Fraser, and Eddie Glaude, Jr., have done to position writers and philosophers such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, and Zora Neale Hurston as significant participants in the history of pragmatism. Then, it describes the relationship between enthomusicological definitions of improvisation and improvisation as cultural and philosophical theory. Conceptions of idiomatic vernacular practices are central to pragmatist methods. The great innovation of twentieth-century art was the introduction and refinement of jazz improvisation into a specific aesthetic. Jones/Baraka, Ellison, and Baldwin attempted to negotiate the problems of race and identity while also proposing narratives for reimagining the American social arrangements and democratic political theory.

Keywords: Ralph Ellison; James Baldwin; LeRoi Jones; Amiri Baraka; American pragmatism; jazz improvisation; Ross Posnock; Michael Magee; Nancy Fraser; Alain Locke

Chapter.  7502 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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