Building Our Cultural Defenses: The Noninterventionist Rhetoric of the National Federation of Music Clubs Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Conkle, Christian
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music
  • The public writings of the National Federation of Music Clubs and its fourteenth president, Julia Ober, argued for American noninterventionism in the late 1930s and early 1940s. These texts deployed a conceptual and aesthetic framework for musical advocacy and activism in America, in which America's love for and preservation of traditional European classical music became a model for American peace during time of war. They proposed that European music could undergo a process of naturalization analogous to the naturalization of thousands of European émigrés. American musicians and audiences could perform, listen to, and love music originating from Axis countries without thereby supporting the Axis. Cultivating this music would create a safe harbor for the preservation of European culture throughout the war. Musical noninterventionism also promoted national defense through culture: focusing on art and music would help Americans resist foreign warmongering and at the same time create the foundations for a lasting American peace. This political program developed in contrast both to internationalist modernism and isolationist American nationalism, and also in opposition to contemporary masculine discourses of composition, aesthetics, and performance.
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  • Fauser, Annegret
  • Open access

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