This image is the cover for the book Haunthenticity


An interdisciplinary and existential exploration of live musical reenactment

In this persuasive study, Tracy McMullen draws on philosophy, psychology, musicology, performance studies, and popular music studies in order to analyze the rise of obsessively precise live musical reenactments in the United States at the turn of the millennium. She investigates this practice, what she terms, Replay, in popular music, jazz, and performance art arguing that it is a symptom of deep-seated fears of the fleeting nature of identity. Musical Replay claims a type of authenticity that is grounded in the exact material details of the original (instruments, props, costumes, people, etc.), and attempts to make up for the loss of identity: cloning the past and using it as a replacement. The scholarship is wide-ranging and ties theory and evidence from diverse fields and experiences together seamlessly and convincingly. Haunthenticity: Musical Replay and the Fear of the Real ultimately argues for a new way of conceiving subjectivity and identity within critical and cultural studies, moving beyond Western epistemologies.

Tracy McMullen

TRACY MCMULLEN is a saxophonist, composer, and associate professor of American vernacular music at Bowdoin College.

Wesleyan University Press