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Time in the Blues$
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Julia Simon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190666552

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190666552.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 March 2021

Sharecropping, Risk, Time, and Agency

Sharecropping, Risk, Time, and Agency

Fattening Frogs for Snakes

(p.29) 2 Sharecropping, Risk, Time, and Agency
Time in the Blues

Julia Simon

Oxford University Press

This chapter delves into the ways in which sharecropping, as a ubiquitous structuring principle in the Jim Crow South, affected the perception and understanding of time, particularly for sharecroppers. Uncovering the simultaneous evocation of cyclical, vectored, and punctual forms of time in the blues reveals the radical effect that disparate yet interrelated conceptions of time have on the perception of agency. A close reading of Bumble Bee Slim’s “Fattening Frogs for Snakes” highlights the economic subtext of exploitation shaped by the temporal forms associated with sharecropping as they manifest themselves in form and content. This and other songs point to the ways in which time, as it was experienced under sharecropping, came to be reflected and represented in the blues, both formally and lyrically.

Keywords:   blues, sharecropping, Jim Crow South, agency, temporality, Bumble Bee Slim, Amos Easton

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