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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how the repatriation of Civil War brass band music participates in contemporary disputes about the deeply contested meaning and ownership of a particularly turbulent moment in American history. Specifically, it questions how the framing of Civil War brass music as a retrievable sonic agent of authenticity facilitates a simplification of the past that negates issues of power and racism that were the root of this war. Such a simplified interpretation of history, heritage, and citizenship ultimately privileges Anglo American men. If repatriation enables communities to control representations of past and present identities, then the literal and metaphorical “return” of Civil War brass music to its “rightful” white male owners becomes a discursive strategy used to both privatize and police national memory.

Keywords: Civil War, brass, memory, masculinity, whiteness, heritage, citizenship, control, discourse, United States

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