Memorial Universitys Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place is launching its 2011-12 lecture series.
The first lecture will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the MMaP gallery on the second floor of the St. Johns Arts and Culture Centre.
Kicking off the series is Dr. Sherrie Tucker from the University of Kansas. She teaches American studies and is speaking on the topic she is currently exploring in her upcoming book, Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen (supported by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities).
First off, whats a Hollywood canteen?
The Hollywood canteen was a famous version of a USO-like (United Services Organizations) nightclub, Dr. Tucker explained, that was operated by members of the guilds and unions of the motion picture industry for military personnel during the Second World War.
Her lecture is titled Torquing Back: Alternative Spins on Jitterbug Memory, Dance Floor Democracy, and the Hollywood Canteen.
Dr. Tucker said the canteen was full of stars that were possible dance partners for a lucky, star-struck G.I.
Bette Davis was the president of the canteen. John Garfield was the vice-president. Marlene Dietrich, Joan Leslie, the list goes on
And then there was the music.
Big bands such as those led by Count Basie and Kay Kaiser donated the live, world-class soundtrack.
But beyond bringing the experience of the canteen to life for us, Dr. Tucker explores continuing struggles over social, cultural and political meanings of democracy in and about the U.S.
The Hollywood canteen is usually remembered as the epitome of World War nostalgia in which the U.S. imagines itself as friendly, democratic and harmonious, said Dr. Tucker.
Based on archival research and extensive interviews with approximately 60 former canteen volunteers from the film industry, and the military guests they entertained, my current book project finds much to support the nostalgia, but just as much, if not more, that breaks up that easy story.
About this series:
The Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology, in conjunction with the School of Music and the Department of Folklore, inaugurated this interdisciplinary lecture series in 2002-03. Distinguished scholars from the academic community are featured in a series of presentations regarding historical and contemporary musical practices. Members of the general public, as well as the university community, are cordially invited. The Music, Media and Culture lecture series for 2011-12 is grateful for financial support from the Office of the President at Memorial University.