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Other titles in the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice series:
The Fierce Urgency of Now: Improvisation, Rights, and the Ethics of Cocreation (Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice)by Daniel Fischlin
Synopses & Reviews
The Fierce Urgency of Now links musical improvisation to struggles for social change, focusing on the connections between the improvisation associated with jazz and the dynamics of human rights struggles and discourses. The authors acknowledge that at first glance improvisation and rights seem to belong to incommensurable areas of human endeavor. Improvisation connotes practices that are spontaneous, personal, local, immediate, expressive, ephemeral, and even accidental, while rights refer to formal standards of acceptable human conduct, rules that are permanent, impersonal, universal, abstract, and inflexible. Yet the authors not only suggest that improvisation and rights can be connected; they insist that they must be connected.
Improvisation is the creation and development of new, unexpected, and productive cocreative relations among people. It cultivates the capacity to discern elements of possibility, potential, hope, and promise where none are readily apparent. Improvisers work with the tools they have in the arenas that are open to them. Proceeding without a written score or script, they collaborate to envision and enact something new, to enrich their experience in the world by acting on it and changing it. By analyzing the dynamics of particular artistic improvisations, mostly by contemporary American jazz musicians, the authors reveal improvisation as a viable and urgently needed model for social change. In the process, they rethink politics, music, and the connections between them.
The Fierce Urgency of Now offers an impassioned call to take the practices of musical improvisation often associated with jazz performance as a model for social-justice activism.
About the Author
Daniel Fischlin is Professor and University Research Chair in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario. He is coauthor (with Martha Nandorfy) of The Community of Rights – The Rights of Community.
Ajay Heble is Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph and an editor (with Rob Wallace) of People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz Is Now!, also published by Duke University Press. He is the founder and artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival.
George Lipsitz is Professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of many books, including How Racism Takes Place and Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music.
Table of Contents
Prelude. "The Fierce Urgency of Now"; Improvisation, Rights, and the Ethics of Cocreation xi
Introduction. Dissolving Dogma: Improvisation, Rights, and Difference 1
1. Sounding Truth to Power: Improvisation, Black Mobility, and Resources for Hope 33
2. Improvisation and Encounter: Rights in the Key of Rifference 57
3. Improvising Community: Rights and Improvisation as Encounter Narratives 99
4. Improvisation, Social Movements, and Rights in New Orleans 141
5. Art to Find the Pulse of the People: We Know This Place 171
6. "The Fierce Urgency of Now": Improvisation, Social Practice, and Togetherness-in-Difference 189
Works Cited 263
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