Christopher Campo-Bowen - Visions of the Village: Opera, Ruralness, and Empire in Central Europe
Ethnonationalism has recently surges across Central Europe and the world. In the past, much as now, such nationalism often has its roots in the imagination of a rural origin. Christopher Campo-Bowen, joined by Center for Humanities director Sylvester Johnson, will discuss his research and current book project, which focus on such idealized rural visions and how they came to be popularized through opera in what is today the Czech Republic and Austria.
Opera became models for national organization and gender roles and were deployed as antidotes to the contagion of urban modernity and, most crucially, contributed to a rapidly developing sense of ethnoracial difference. The development of a multifaceted sense of Czech identity was deeply enmeshed with its geopolitical context. The complex negotiations of living within a multinational empire - resisting, working with, ignoring, and internalizing imperial modes of thinking - had a profound impact on how opera's public importance was read and how music and ruralness could serve the construction of ethnic identity. Such constructions of identity display striking parallels to situations currently facing the European Union and the United States and invite a deeper consideration of how ruralness and music impact politics, society, and culture in the early twenty-first century.
Dr. Campo-Bowen is an Assistant Professor in Musicology in the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on music in the Habsburg Monarchy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially on the relationships between music, ethnicity, gender, and empire. He is particularly interested in how conceptions of ruralness in Czech operas structured notions of subjectivity and identity.
This talk is free and open to the public and we invite anyone to attend. There will be a brief question and answer session following the presentation. If you are a person with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact the Center for Humanities at least 10 days prior to the event.