Paris in the 1920’s was a time full of contradictions. It was a period full of experimentation, yet very restrained values. People explored sexuality and gender in music, and yet outside of the arts those endeavors were strictly taboo. Stigma’s and stereotypes abound, yet marginalized cultures were held up in the spotlight. National identity and superiority were on the forefront of the social consciousness, yet “Otherness” was craved. There wasn’t a clear cut boundary to any one issue, yet the people were some how able to hold multiple contradictory thoughts at once. It was almost like double think, and just if not more as troubling.
Writing papers from the perspective of this paradoxical time caused me to try and hash out these ideals for myself. These musical pieces were snapshots of issues of the time. Through them, the conflicts and paradoxes were pitted captured for future audiences like me to analyze.
The more I dug in to this world of the past, the more I realized that sadly these issues of race, nationality, sexuality, gender, and class aren’t foreign to me at all; They have only manifested in slightly different ways almost 100 years in the future. When I first started using some of the more specific lenses like negrophilia, I felt they were so strange. Now I see they have only morphed under different names, but are still incredibly relevant today.