Sherrie TuckerDance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen

Duke University Press, 2014

by Rich Schur on January 8, 2015

Sherrie Tucker

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Pop Music] Cultural memory of World War II frequently draws on swing music and the USO dance floor as symbols of how the country came together in support of the war effort. Frequently, the term “the Greatest Generation” is used to exemplify patriotism and self-sacrifice. Digging beyond nostalgic remembrances, Sherrie Tucker’s Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen (Duke University Press, 2014) explores how race, gender, social class, and other social cleavages shaped the dance floor and produced a variety of responses to the war effort. Tucker questions the accuracy of common representations of World War II culture. In its place, she offers a more nuanced account of the social and cultural politics of the era.

The podcast explores the war, the racial politics of swing music, integration and race relations, oral history and how to write cultural history.

Dr. Sherrie Tucker is Professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas. She is also the author of Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s and co-editor of Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies.

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