Skip to navigation – Site map

De l’excursion à Harlem au débat sur les « Noirs »

Les terrains absents de la jazzologie française
Denis-Constant Martin
p. 261-278


From the Excursion in Harlem to the Debate about “Blacks”: Missing Fields in French Jazzology. – Nearly all French essays on jazz have been written from “afar”, without any fieldwork in the United States. The main reason for this may be the exoticism prevalent in French attitudes toward jazz. In the three accounts of trips by Darius Milhaud (1922), Jean Wiéner (1931) and Hugues Panassié (1938) to the other shore of the Atlantic, the journey ended with a confirmation of already soundly established ideas about “Blacks” and their music rather than in a better understanding of the social conditions wherein jazz was produced. The invention of be-bop and its discovery in France opened, in the late 1940s, a debate that shook up but did not overthrow these ideas. During these discussions, as an anthropological, non-racist point of view emerged, French writings on jazz were actually about French society and its prevailing perceptions of “Blacks”.

Top of page


Bibliographical reference

Denis-Constant Martin, « De l’excursion à Harlem au débat sur les « Noirs » », L’Homme, 158-159 | 2001, 261-278.

Electronic reference

Denis-Constant Martin, « De l’excursion à Harlem au débat sur les « Noirs » », L’Homme [Online], 158-159 | avril-septembre 2001, Online since 25 May 2007, connection on 24 September 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/lhomme.112

Top of page

About the author

Denis-Constant Martin

Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, Centre d’études et de recherches internationales, Paris

By this author

Top of page


© École des hautes études en sciences sociales

Top of page
  • OpenEdition Journals