Date of Completion


Embargo Period



American, Literature, Nationalism, Sound, Race, Imperialism, Americanism, Performance, Music

Major Advisor

Cathy Schlund-Vials

Associate Advisor

Martha Cutter

Associate Advisor

Christopher Vials

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


In a post-Civil War imaginary marked by increased racialization, vehement nativism, and expanding imperialism, a new debate over national identity converged on the terrain of so-termed “American music.” These aural and auditory frames foreground this dissertation, which takes seriously the ways in which writers, playwrights, and lyricists identified new possibilities for and the limitations of dominant-held notions of political and cultural citizenship through the interconnected spheres of literature and sound. Such productions, which converge on the notion of “American music,” divergently echoed, reflected, and refracted political contestations over who did and did not belong to the U.S. nation-state. This multiracial, multiethnic sound studies project, which begins at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and concludes with the Great Depression, explores the integral sites of “American-ness” as an unstable and dynamic concept in the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Israel Zangwill, Irving Berlin, Raymond Egan, and Américo Paredes.

Available for download on Sunday, May 03, 2026