Laura Clawson

Community, Religion and Cultural Authenticity
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Department of Sociology

Laura Clawson's research focuses on Sacred Harp singing, a participatory form of a capella religious singing practiced continuously in the American south since the mid-nineteenth century which has undergone a folk revival in other regions of the country over the past twenty-five years. Sacred Harp is a participatory, not performance, genre, and Clawson's work focuses on the role of community, religion, and ideas about authenticity in its traditional practice and in revivalist singing. Recently, two Sacred Harp songs were included in the film Cold Mountain, bringing unprecedented attention to this historically non-commercial music. This provides an example to examine processes of (attempted) commercialization.