African American Performance in Post-WWII Soviet/Yugoslav Space and Screens

Event time: 
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
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Ian MacMillen, Lecturer at Yale's Department of Music
Event description: 

The Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies Program presents Dr. Ian MacMillen, Yale University, to discuss “African American Performance in Post-WWII Soviet/Yugoslav Space and Screens.”
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Throughout the 20th century, and especially after WWII, people of African descent immigrated to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia from both sub-Saharan Africa and its diasporas in North America. Yet in both federal socialist republics, locals of non-African descent were often less likely to have contact with or reason to think about local Black citizens than they were to encounter elite African American performers, either through their tours or through the mediation and dissemination of their work (in all cases arranged and overseen by high-ranking Communist Party officials and/or the U.S. State Department and Information Agency). This talk examines comparatively the history of postwar African American performance (especially music) in the USSR and Yugoslavia and its effects upon audio-visual culture in both countries and particularly within their films.
Ian MacMillen is a Lecturer at Yale’s Department of Music. His scholarship focuses on such subjects as the use of jazz in Soviet animated film; racialized trauma and the interaction of music and flags in American and post-Yugoslav cultural memory; sonic fascination in Bulgarian music tourism; and the racialization and denial of affect among the former Yugoslavia’s tambura stringband musicians. His book on the latter topic, Playing It Dangerously, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2019, and he is currently working on a new monograph on the complicity of music and other sound in forgetting 20th-century atrocities in Central and Southeastern Europe.

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