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Sing a song of difference: Connie Boswell and a discourse of disability in jazz

Stras, Laurie (2009) Sing a song of difference: Connie Boswell and a discourse of disability in jazz Popular Music, 28, (3), pp. 297-322. (doi:10.1017/S0261143009990080).

Record type: Article


Although a wheelchair-user and permanently disabled through polio, the southern American singer Connie Boswell was one of radio and vaudeville's biggest stars in the 1930s. She and her sisters were a compelling force in American popular entertainment for the first half of the decade; and when the group split in 1936, Connie carried on a solo career in radio, recording, film and television for another twenty-five years. Connie's unique position as the only visibly disabled ‘A-list’ female popular entertainer for most of the twentieth century – and one whose voice, both physical and musical, shaped the sound of jazz and popular music – makes her an obvious focus for any study that links popular music and disability. This essay is concerned with how disability may have operated as a discourse about and within Connie's chosen medium, jazz; and how disability studies can illuminate why the ways in which difference is figured in her work, initially a source of anxiety, could have also been a significant reason for her success.

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Published date: October 2009
Organisations: Music


Local EPrints ID: 67401
ISSN: 0261-1430
PURE UUID: 5c0b94cf-ec51-4a28-94bf-21059f6879a6
ORCID for Laurie Stras: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Sep 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:19

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