Keeping time - Performing Place: Heterotopia and jazz in Candace Allen's Valaida

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  • Anne Christine Dvinge
Candace Allen’s novel Valaida (2004) illustrates the migratory patterns of early 20th century jazz music and musicians, positing the art form and its performers as “heterotopians”; simultaneously in and outside of the power relations of hegemonic time-space compression, travelling in an alternate and progressive space, signified by the music. However, through a reading of heterotopic spaces in Valaida, this article seeks to complicate the notion of heterotopias as purely progressive spaces for reversal and liberation. It does so by emphasizing the double nature of heterotopias as both progressive and reactionary and suggests that the way time is employed in a heterotopic space determines its progressive potential. Spaces of accumulative, static, or frozen time refuse to yield any utopian promise, whereas fluid, dynamic, and ephemeral time offers moments of agency. In the case of Valaida, music and performance offers an alternate space, where the radical potential lies in the moment of communication and community, constituting a diasporic practice and heterutopian spaces of sound and time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Transnational American Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 33019854