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Culture Throughlines: Values, Visions and Transformation—African American Music, American Culture, and Society

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posted on 2023-10-04, 22:30 authored by William Banfield

Cultural throughlines delineate the ways in which contemporary artistry, new works, and creative methods can be appreciated and seen as a “tri-vision tradition” (then, now, and when) as they tie into cultural linkages from our past and suggest our future. What is new are today’s social languages, platforms, movements, and fluidity, all of which lead to discussions that anticipate ever-changing cultural shifts and create dialogue about cultural practices. It’s about living and how we do culture: what it is, what it means, and why. Questions arise about what we as artists value (identity, creative voice, survival). How do we get there? And what do everyday people value and care about?

The book examines a little cultural theory, a little ritual formation, and a lot of “how is any of this sustainable?” It is a collection of ideas from creative thinkers on the role of the arts and concepts that define and carry societal value. We consider life a gift, and the works that people put forward to continually transform our time and celebrate these gifts in life can make a difference in the ways we live.



  • Open Monographs

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Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage;


Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press