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A historical overview of college football's participants exemplifies the diversification of mainstream American culture from the late nineteenth century to the twenty-first. The same cannot be said for the sport's audience, which remains largely white American. Gerald Gems maintains that football culture reinforces the construction of American identity as “an aggressive, commercial, white, Protestant, male society.” Ken McLeod echoes this perspective in his description of college football's musical soundscape, “white-dominated hard rock, heavy metal, and country music—in addition to marching bands.” This article examines musical segregation in college football, drawing from case studies and interviews conducted in 2013 with university music coordinators from the five largest collegiate athletic conferences in the United States. These case studies reveal several trends in which music is used as a tool to manipulate and divide college football fans and players along racial lines, including special sections for music associated with blackness, musical selections targeted at recruits, and the continued position of the marching band—a European military ensemble—as the musical representative of the sport. These areas reinforce college football culture as a bastion of white strength despite the diversity among player demographics.
‘The last twenty years having witnessed so much change in the village, it is interesting to speculate as to the farther changes that may be looked for in the years to come,’ George Sturt writes in Change in the Village (1912), his observations on rural social history. In the book's final section, ‘The Forward Movement’, he sets out his ideas for what he sees as a shift in outlook among the people he observes toward the changing world around them:
The changes so far observed have been thrust upon the people from the outside – changes in their material or social environment, followed by mere negations on their part, in the abandonment of traditional outlooks and ambitions; and of course in that negative direction the movement must come to an end at last. But when there are no more old habits to be given up, there is still plenty of scope for acquiring new ones, and this is the possibility that has to be considered. What if, quietly and out of sight – so quietly and inconspicuously as to be unnoticed even by the people themselves – their English nature dissatisfied with negations, should have instinctively set to work in a positive direction to discover a new outlook and new ambitions? (pp. 165–6)
Rural Modernity in Britain: A Critical Intervention puts the focus on this new outlook and new ambitions through a study of writers, artists and other agents that investigated and helped to instigate the changes that Sturt saw coming among the rural people he writes about. Quiet and inconspicuous activities are considered in the context of dramatic changes in material and social conditions throughout Britain in order to examine the histories of relations between rural and urban places, economies, classes, identities, images, arts and cultures. The overarching goal of this project is to promote rural people and places as important yet often-ignored subjects for studies of British modernisation, modernism and modernity.
In the early twentieth century, rural areas experienced economic depression, the expansion of transport and communication networks, the rollout of electricity, the loss of land and the erosion of local identities. Who celebrated these changes? Who resisted them?
The village has served as a longstanding model for British national identity. Changes to the village are ways of discussing the broader changes that shape the nation, and – in the interwar period – the seeming stability of traditional village life served as a counter-narrative to the disruptions brought about by modernity. In their critique of contemporary life in Britain, Culture and Environment: A Training in Critical Awareness (1933), F. R. Leavis and Denys Thompson turned to the work of George Bourne (a pseudonym of George Sturt), a writer who documented the changes he saw in village life a generation earlier in his books Change in the Village (1912) and The Wheelwright's Shop (1923). Leavis and Thompson bring in these examples as evidence of the social changes they want to emphasise, but Bourne's work is more nuanced than they let on. As the Introduction to Rural Modernity in Britain demonstrates, Bourne was one of many commentators that saw village populations neither as completely resistant to (or even ignorant of) the opportunities brought about by modernity nor as receptacles for the ideas espoused by mostly urban-based commentators uncomfortable with the changes they saw around them. This chapter brings amateur film-makers to these discussions and considers what moving images of rural Britain from the 1920s and 1930s can tell us about the changes faced by these communities and the ways in which film featured as a response to them. It focuses on films that depict village life in different parts of Britain, made by men and women who used the technology of cinema to take stock of the activities occurring around them. They document the ‘change in the village’ that Bourne and others describe and capture the rituals that continued – or were revitalised – during a period that saw shifts in village economies, infrastructure and social interactions. These films overlap with interwar fiction and non-fiction, but they also offer access to places and exchanges otherwise absent from these familiar depictions. As social documents they present a complex portrait of rural life and provide rich material for studies of social history, interwar literature and amateur cinema, a growing field in film, media and cultural studies.