|The panels at this afternoon do not only view jazz as a cross-border phenomenon, informing and shifting musical worlds, but consider its political significance, both in the way it survived and influenced diverse social processes. Penny von Eschen sets the influence of Afro-American intellectuals and artists, for example, "ambassador of jazz" Louis Armstrong, against the field of tension of the Cold War.
Penny von Eschen, PhD. Associate Professor for History and Afro-American studies at the University of Michigan. Penny von Eschen's work concentrates on cultural policy and its implementation: transnational cultural and political dynamics, the relationship between race, gender and empire, and the impact of US imperialism on society in the United States. Her main field is 20th-century Afro-American history, focusing on the ambivalent relationship between Afro-Americans and US foreign policy, especially during the Cold War. In her work "Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957" (1997) von Eschen describes the national and international impact of the radical critique advanced by Afro-American intellectuals and artists of US imperialist/post-colonial foreign policy. Penny von Eschen sees the Afro-American Diaspora as a third force in the unequal power relations prevailing during the Cold War. She is especially interested in the role played by musicians touring the globe as, for example, in: "Satchmo blows up the world: Jazz, Race, and Empire during the Cold war and beyond" (2004).
Reinhold Wagnleitner is Professor for General History of the Modern Age at the University of Salzburg. He played bass in Austrian pop, rock and jazz formations for a number of years. In the 1970s, he was responsible for the rock and jazz programme of the Salzburger Jugendszene, the city's only alternative festival.
Since the 1980s, he has taught at various universities in the USA and Austria on subjects in the field of American studies, concentrating on the relationship between history, politics and popular culture. From 1995-1996 he was the President of the Austrian Association for American Studies (AAAS). In 1998 he was offered the post of guest professor at the Department of History of the University of New Orleans. The same year, he launched an Internet history project (Geschichte@Internet - History@Internet). In the year 2000, he became a member of the international advisory committee of "A Celebration of the Artistry and Legacy of Louis Armstrong", a conference marking the centenary of Louis Armstrong's birth, and subsequently organised a series of symposia entitled "Satchmo meets Amadeus".
R. Wagnleitner's countless contributions in specialist journals and anthologies mainly deal with the cultural influence of the United States on Europe; the political, economic and ideological role of the culture industry during the Cold War; British and Austrian foreign policy during the 1930s and 1940s; as well as current topics related to catchwords such as globalisation and Americanisation.