Performing al-Andalus

Performing al-Andalus

Music and Nostalgia across the Mediterranean
Jonathan Holt Shannon
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/28/2015
ISBN: 978-0-253-01774-1
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Description

Performing al-Andalus explores three musical cultures that claim a connection to the music of medieval Iberia, the Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus, known for its complex mix of Arab, North African, Christian, and Jewish influences. Jonathan Holt Shannon shows that the idea of a shared Andalusian heritage animates performers and aficionados in modern-day Syria, Morocco, and Spain, but with varying and sometimes contradictory meanings in different social and political contexts. As he traces the movements of musicians, songs, histories, and memories circulating around the Mediterranean, he argues that attention to such flows offers new insights into the complexities of culture and the nuances of selfhood.

Author Bio

Jonathan Holt Shannon is Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College, CUNY. He is author of Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria and A Wintry Day in Damascus: Syrian Stories.

Reviews

“This book explores three musical cultures that claim a connection to the music of medieval Iberia, the Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus, known for its complex mix of Arab, North African, Christian, and Jewish influences. As Holt Shannon traces the movements of musicians, songs, histories, and memories circulating around the Mediterranean, he argues that attention to such flows offers new insights into the complexities of culture and the nuances of selfhood.”

“Performing al-Andalus is a timely intervention in one of the most crucial debates of our time: the relationship between the Arab world and the West. With great erudition, delicacy of feeling, and stylistic elegance Shannon explores the feelings of commonality and estrangement through which musicians and audiences in Syria, Morocco, and Spain remember a bygone era of multicultural conviviality and envision a shared future in a new Mediterranean--beyond rigid terrestrial cartographies, beyond shipwrecked refugees, beyond the 'war on terror,' and beyond Islamophobia. A must-read. ”
 — Veit Erlmann, University of Texas

“In this elegant, innovative ethnography of pan-Mediterranean musical connections, Jonathan Shannon identifies a protean 'rhetoric of al-Andalus' that intersects, crosscuts, undermines, and reaffirms standard historical narratives and contemporary national boundaries. Linking musical performance to artistic and political discourses, he reveals alternative imaginaries of belonging, and suggests the productive potential of nostalgia Performing al-Andalus illustrates how competing notions of Umayyad Spain—a Muslim golden age for Islamists, an idyll of tolerance for secularists—serve to critique a challenging present and inspire visions of a different future.”
 — Christa Salamandra, Lehman College and Graduate Center, CUNY

“[A] major intervention into the emergent field of Andalusian music studies: it is amongst the first full-blown anthropological studies of these traditions, and the first to attempt a cross-cultural comparative perspective. . . . [A] thought-provoking and illuminating study of the role played by the image and memory of al-Andalus in the modern Mediterranean world.”
 — Carl Davila, SUNY College at Brockport

“A sizeable body of literature has emerged in recent years that explores the musical legacies of al-Andalus from both a historical and a contemporary perspective. Jonathan Shannon’s book is a crucial addition to this scholarship.”
 — Music and Letters

“[This] study is well-written, engaging, and supported by a substantial bibliography. . . . Recommended.”
 — Choice

“Shannon has proven once again his deep knowledge of the cultural and intellectual landscape of the region. . . . Through its comparative and cross-cultural perspective, Performing al-Andalus is accessible to a wide audience, addressing particularly those interested in how music interacts with memory cultures, ideologies of belonging and their circulation within a transnational context.”
 — Ethnomusicology Forum

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Table of Contents

Prelude
Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration

Overture Performance, Nostalgia, and the Rhetoric of al-Andalus: Mediterranean Soundings
1. In the Shadows of Ziryab: Narratives of al-Andalus and Andalusian Music
2. The Rhetoric of al-Andalus in Modern Syria, or, There and Back Again
3. The Rhetoric of al-Andalus in Morocco: Genealogical Imagination and Authenticity
4. The Rhetoric of al-Andalus in Spain: Nostalgic Dwelling among the Children of Ziryab
Finalis The Project of al-Andalus and Nostalgic Dwelling in the 21st Century

Glossary
Notes
References
Index