Celeste Day Moore

Apr 10, 2023

Soundscapes of Liberation

African American Music in Postwar France

Duke University Press 2021

Celeste Day Moore is a historian of African American culture, media, and Black internationalism in the twentieth century. Her first book, Soundscapes of Liberation: African American Music in Postwar France (Duke University Press, 2021), was awarded the Gilbert Chinard Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies. Her research has appeared in American Quarterly, the Journal of African American History, and the first edited volume of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). She received her doctorate from the University of Chicago and has been a fellow at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. As an associate professor of history at Hamilton College, she teaches courses on African American history as well as histories of empire, race, Black internationalism, and U.S. international relations.

In Soundscapes of Liberation, Celeste Day Moore traces the popularization of African American music in postwar France, where it signaled new forms of power and protest. Moore surveys a wide range of musical genres, soundscapes, and media: the US military's wartime records and radio programs; the French record industry's catalogs of blues, jazz, and R&B recordings; the translations of jazz memoirs; a provincial choir specializing in spirituals; and US State Department-produced radio programs that broadcast jazz and gospel across the French empire. In each of these contexts, individual intermediaries such as educators, producers, writers, and radio deejays imbued African American music with new meaning, value, and political power. Their work resonated among diverse Francophone audiences and transformed the lives and labor of many African American musicians, who found financial and personal success as well as discrimination in France. By showing how the popularity of African American music was intertwined with contemporary structures of racism and imperialism, Moore demonstrates this music's centrality to postwar France and the convergence of decolonization, the expanding globalized economy, the Cold War, and worldwide liberation movements.

Annie deSaussure, holds a Ph.D. in French from Yale University and is an Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Languages and Literary Studies at Lafayette College. Her work focuses on minority regional languages, literatures, and cultures in contemporary France, with a focus on the region of Brittany, the historical and artistic dimensions of radio in France, and podcasting.

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Annie de Saussure

Annie deSaussure holds a Ph.D. in French from Yale University and is an Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Languages and Literary Studies at Lafayette College.

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