An interdisciplinary and existential exploration of live musical reenactment
“With Haunthenticity, Tracy McMullen challenges us to re-examine what we think we know about musical and cultural re-enactment, objectivity ad subjectivity, live performance, and the very nature of our collective yearning for the past. An essential read for anyone interested in contemporary music and performance.”
-Philip Auslander, author of Reactivations: Essays on Performance and Its Documentation
In this persuasive study, Tracy McMullen draws on philosophy, psychology, musicology, performance studies, and popular music studies in order to analyze the rise of obsessively precise live musical reenactments in the United States at the turn of the millennium. She investigates these reenactments in popular music, jazz, and performance art, and shows how they claim a type of authenticity that is grounded in the exact material details of the original (instruments, props, costumes, people). Haunthenticity ultimately argues for a new way of conceiving subjectivity and identity within critical and cultural studies.
Tracy McMullen is a saxophonist, composer, and associate professor of American vernacular music at Bowdoin College.