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Conference: Jazz behind the iron curtain

26.09.2008 - 28.09.2008

Program of the international conference

The music of freedom, democracy and modernity as well as a symbol of the American way of life – these are the central elements of a myth that has surrounded jazz since its inception, and which became influential particularly in the state socialist societies of East-Central Europe after 1945. Scene insiders accord jazz an important role in resisting the state socialist order. We need to differentiate here: Forms of targeted political resistance are scarcely to be found in East-Central European jazz. Even at first glance, however, such “apolitical“ phenomena as the simple joy of playing and improvisation or the existence of a jazz scene that was difficult for the regime to control necessarily made this music and its environment a political factor of the first rank, which was also shaped by the connection of jazz to its country of origin. The transfer of U.S. American cultural forms helped to bolster oppositional circles intellectually, which in turn was exploited by U.S. American propaganda officers who made jazz a political weapon in the Cold War.

The conference is directed at historians, scholars in the field of cultural studies, sociologists and musicologists who are working on jazz and related music and its social impact in the state socialist societies of Eastern Europe after the Second World War. The aim is to describe the efficacy paradigms of jazz in state socialism. The conference language is English, papers are simultaneously translated into Polish.


Zeit & Ort

26.09.2008 - 28.09.2008

German Historical Institute Warsaw, Aleje Ujazdowskie 39