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«Illusions of a Faraway Homeland». Translocative Geographies in the Production of «Descriptive» Records for Italians in the USA (1917-1930)

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Ethnic Records; Italian American Culture; Sound Studies; Americanization; Phonography.

The «ethnic» or «language records» published by multinational companies for non-English speaking communities in the U.S. are a long-standing research interest in ethnomusicology. This essay reconsiders the same study object from a media-related perspective by focusing on the records made for Italian-American communities between the mid-1910s and 1930s. Building on Joseph Sciorra's notion of «translocative experiences of italianità», I will first outline the transnational geographies of early record industry and the strategies underlying ethnic production in the U.S. Secondly, I will discuss the case of non-musical records to demonstrate how their discursive and representational rhetorics engaged the listener by «carrying» him/her in to re-invented homeland.

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