Whiteness is less about skin colour than power relations. It is a discursively‐produced, historically‐contingent category with flexible boundaries defined through difference in a way that places it in the position of unmarked privilege. This paper examines early music vocal ensemble performing practice in Britain since the 1950s in relation to race. It argues that aspects of the practice and its reception are rooted in whiteness and propagate values associated with racism. At a time when the current trend is to create fusions of early music with world and folk musics, a critical engagement with the ideologies of the practice will facilitate the development of a revitalized practice that can be an equal partner on the multicultural stage.
Bodies/Music, 19-20 April 2010
Paper delivered 20 Apr. 2010