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New Book: England’s Folk Revival, by Joseph Williams

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      Joseph Williams

      Dear MSA,

      I am pleased to announce the recent publication of England’s Folk Revival and the Problem of Identity in Traditional Music (Routledge 2022). Details of the publication can be found here: https://www.routledge.com/Englands-Folk-Revival-and-the-Problem-of-Identity-in-Traditional-Music/Williams/p/book/9780367648152

      There will be an official launch as part of the MSA 2022 Conference, with details to be released along with the official conference programme. I would be delighted to see you there! I would also be delighted to receive critical discussion from any interested MSA members – please see the following link to request a copy for review: https://m.email.taylorandfrancis.com/Review_copy_request


      England’s Folk Revival and the Problem of Identity in Traditional Music responds to contemporary problems surrounding emphases on cultural identity in the way traditional music is understood and valued.

      I locate the roots of contemporary definitions of traditional music, including UNESCO-designated intangible cultural heritage, in the theory of English folk music developed in 1907 by Cecil Sharp. Employing Deleuzian philosophical concepts in an historical revision of England’s Victorian/Edwardian folk revival, I argue that identity is a restrictive ideology at odds with the material production of music traditions. I reimagine Sharp’s appropriation of Darwinian evolutionary concepts, asking what it would mean today to say that traditional music ‘evolves’, given recent developments in evolutionary theory. I entertain the possibility of thinking traditional music without recourse to identity as an ontological, epistemological and axiological principle.

      For scholars and graduate students in musicology, cultural studies, and ethnomusicology, the book is an ambitious and provocative challenge to habits of thought surrounding traditional music and the historiography of England’s folk revival.

      Best wishes,

      Joseph Williams

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