UW-Madison Center for the Humanities

Center for the Humanities

Past Faculty Development Seminars

Spring 2013: Global Pop: Music, Race, Capital, History

Led by Ron Radano (Ethnomusicology)

This faculty seminar proposes an alignment of music studies, global studies, and race studies as part of a new line of inquiry in the critical study of culture. It will place front and center this set of questions: Why did US black music become the central measure of aesthetic value at the onset of the modern, global metropolis, and in what ways did its sonic contours re-cast the aural and cultural environments of the new imperial city? How, moreover, did the musical production of race give form to modern, popular affective capacities—to the very ways in which world-metropolitan listening audiences learned to consume a racial feeling in sound? By exploring a range of interactive researches—from the phenomenology of listening to the commodification of music to the sonic transformation of the international public sphere—the seminar will seek to gain a new appreciation of the audible constitution of race and its significance in the making of modern global history.

Subjects, Readings, Listening, Video:

NB: Listening and video examples will typically lead off discussions. Participants will also have an opportunity to listen/watch before seminar, if they choose to do so.

Weekly meetings take place on Mondays in 313 University Club from 6-8 pm. Note: On April 9, the group will meet in room 212.

Week 1.  Jan. 28
WORLD MUSIC AND RACIAL FANTASY

Readings.
Steven Feld.  “Notes on World Beat.”  Public Culture Bulletin 1:1 (Fall 1988): 31-37.
Max Fisher.  “Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation.”  The Atlantic
Recommended.
Timothy Brennan.  “World Music Does Not Exist.”  In: Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Music and Imperial Jazz.  New York: Verso, 2008, pp. 15-48. 
Richard J. Barnet and John Cavanagh.  “Global Entertainment and Local Taste.”  Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995, 137-160.
Louise Meintjes.  "Paul Simon's Graceland, South Africa, and the mediation of musical meaning." Ethnomusicology 34 (Winter 1990): 37 73.
Listening/Video.
Selections from Paul Simon, Graceland and Peter Gabriel, US.
PSY.  “Gangnam Style.”

Week 2.  Feb. 4
MORAL ECONOMIES OF BLACKNESS
Readings.

Paul Gilroy. "Chapter One: The Black Atlantic as a Counter Culture of Modernity," The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993, pp. 1-40.
Recommended.
Paul Gilroy. Paul Gilroy.  "Sounds Authentic."
Paul Gilroy.  “Troubadours, Warriors, and Diplomats.”  Darker Than Blue: On the  Moral Economies of Black Atlantic Culture.  Cambridge: Harvard University  Press, 2010, 120-178.  (Just skim 129-149 if you are short on time.)
Tavia Nyong’o.  “Book Reviews” (Darker than Blue)Journal of Popular Music  Studies 24:1 (2012): 107-113.
Andrew Abbott.  “Things of Boundaries.”  Social Research 62:4 (1995): 857-82.
Listening.
Selections by Bob Marley and Hendrix referenced by Gilroy; others TBD.

Week 3.  Feb. 11
MUSIC CIRCUITS:  GLOBAL BLACKNESS, DIASPORIC SOUND
Readings.

Andrew Jones.  “Black Internationale: Notes on the Chinese Jazz Age.”  Jazz Planet. Oxford: University Press of Mississippi, 2003, 225-244.
Brent Edwards.  “Uses of Diaspora.”  Social Text 19:1 (Spring 2001): 45-73.
Recommended.
Pierre  Bourdieu and Loïc Wacquant.  “On the Cunning of Imperialist Reason.”  Theory, Culture, and Society, 16:1 (1999): 41-58.
John D. French.  “The Missteps of Anti-Imperialist Reason: Bourdieu, Wacquant, and Hanchard’s Orpheus and Power.”  Theory, Culture, and Society 17:1 (2000): 107-128.
Listening and Video.
Li Jinhui, “Express Train” (Shanghai, 1932).
Betty Boop and the Louis Armstrong Orchestra.  “I’ll Glad When You’re Dead, You  Rascal You.”  (1932).
Die Antwoord.  “Fatty Boom Boom” (South Africa).

Week 4.   Feb. 18
BLACKFACE LEGACIES

Readings.
Eric Lott.  “Love and Theft: The Racial Unconscious of Blackface Minstrelsy.”  Representations 39 (Summer 1992): 23-50. 
Rian Malan.  “In the Jungle.”  The Best Magazine Writing 2001, ed.  Harold Evans.  New York: Public Affairs, 2001, 51-83.
Listening.
Early Blackface Recordings.
Solomon Linda (S. Africa).  “Mbube” (1939).
The Weavers.  “Wimoweh” (1956).
Recommended.
Catherine Cole.  “Reading Blackface in West Africa: Wonders Taken for Signs.”  Critical Inquiry 23:1 (Autumn 1996): 183-215.

Week 5. Feb, 25
SONIC IMMEDIACY: VOICE
Readings.

Mladen Dolar.  “Introduction,” “The Linguistics of Voice.”  A Voice and Nothing More.  Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006, 3-33.
Listening.
Whitney Houston. “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going
Charice Pempengco (Philippines).  “And I Am Telling You …

Week 6.  March 4
CRITICAL REPETITION

Readings.
Jacques Attali.  “Repeating.”  Noise: The Political Economy of Music. 87-132.
Video and Listening.
(TBD)
Recommended.
Sumanth Gopinath.  “Reich in Blackface: Oh Dem Watermelons and Radical Minstrelsy in the 1960s.”  Journal of the Society for American Music 5:2 (2011): 139-193.   Excerpts.
Veit Erlmann.  “Rhythm and Clues: Time and the Acoustic Unconscious, ca. 1900.”  Reason and Resonance: A History of Modern Aurality.   London: Zone Books, 2010, 271-306.

Week 7.  March 11

Week 8. March 18
REANIMATION
Readings.

Bill Brown.  “Reification, Reanimation, and the American Uncanny.”  Critical  Inquiry 32 (Winter 2006): 175-207.
Listening.
George Johnson.  “The Laughing Song” (1890).
Hatsume Miku (Simulation).  “World is Mine” (Live in Tokyo)
Recommended.
Peter Pels.  “The Spirit of Matter: On Fetish, Rarity, Fact, and Fancy.”  Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Spaces.  Patricia Spyer, ed.  New York: Routledge, 1998, 91-121.

Spring Break. March 25

No Meeting. April 1

Week 9. April 8
A TRANSNATIONAL RACIAL FEELING

Guest Visitor, Steve Feld
5:30-7:30, 212 University Club (note time and room change)
Readings.
Steven Feld.  Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra.  Durham: Duke University Press, 2012, “First Chorus” (51-85) and “Soundtrack as Archive/Archive as Soundtrack" (212-222).
Listening and Video:
An interview with Feld on NPR about the Por Por Honk Horn Music.

  • NB:  “The Story of Por Por” (Film).  Noon, Memorial Library 126.
  • NB:  After-Seminar Buffet Dinner: Ron Radano and Colleen Dunlavy’s house, 1820 West Lawn Ave.  257-1408

Week 10. April 15
THEORIZING MUSICAL AFFECT WITHIN AND AGAINST GLOBAL CAPITAL
Readings.

Dipesh Chakrabarty.   “The Two Histories of Capital.”  Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000, 47-71.
Michael Hardt.  “Immaterial Labor and Artistic Production.”  Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society. 1475-8059, Volume 17, Issue 2, 2005, 175-177.
Recommended.
W.E.B. Du Bois.   “Black Labor.”  The Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America.  1924/2007, 13-28.

Week 11. April 22
LISTENING, SUMMARY, REFLECTION
Ron will outline (and possibly prepare beforehand) an overview summarizing some of the main issues we’ve covered.  We’ll devote the session itself to a reconsideration of these issues against the background of global pop studies.   Discussion will develop through critical listening, working from a selection of recordings and videos.