UC San Diego's Department of Music

July 16, 2009

  Jann Pasler's new book Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic France has been published July 6 by University of California Press, and Pasler has reason to celebrate. The book marks the culmination of 20 years of research, travel, and writing.

At 817 pages, Composing the Citizen is a weighty achievement for Pasler, who joined UC San Diego's music faculty in 1981 and was the driving force behind the creation of the graduate degree program in Critical Studies and Experimental Practices. Pasler is internationally renowned for her research and writing. In 2005, she won the coveted Colin Slim award from the American Society of Musicologists for an article on music and French colonialism, the subject of her next book.

In Composing the Citizen, Pasler explores how, as France recovered from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, republicans used music to help people negotiate their conflicting past; not to forget it, but to assimilate it in new ways.

Composing The Citizen is earning excellent reviews. One critic wrote that is "reaches well beyond what any book concerned with music in society has ever attempted," while another said that Pasler "offers nothing less than a new paradigm for the study of musical cultures."

Clearly, her book contains ideas that are very relevant to today's world of warring political factions and diverse music, some of which utilizes state-of-the-art computers, software, and other technologies. What role, one wonders, might music play in rebounding nations in the decades ahead?

In early July, the website ROROTOKO published an in-depth interview with Ms. Pasler.

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