Presenter: Marek Bennett
Marek Bennett will deliver an engaging overview of global politics prior to the American Civil War through the lens of early banjo music. Between 1820 and 1860, the banjo transformed from a slave instrument found only on Southern plantations to an international pop phenomenon: songs and playing techniques carried far and wide in the emerging global economy, from the streets of New York's Five Points slum to the gold fields of California and the elite drawing rooms of London, from the battlegrounds of Nicaragua to official diplomatic receptions in Japan. How did this African-derived, slave-borne folk instrument come to symbolize all the best and worst of a young United States of America?
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