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2018–2019 Music & Culture Lecture Series

Minuet as Method: Embodied Performance in the Research Process

Dr. Sonja Boon (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Thursday, September 27, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)

What do bodies know? In this presentation, I use the minuet—the most popular eighteenth-century dance form—as a starting point to reflect on the potential of historical dance, as bodily performance practice, to illuminate not only musical performance, but also the ways that gender, class, and ethnicity are both influenced by and mapped onto social spaces. I argue that our understanding of the environment is shaped by the way that we move through space, and further, that the way that we move is shaped by our embodiment; that is, by the way that socially-constructed notions of sex, gender, race, class, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and so forth inform our experiences of our bodily selves. I suggest that operating from the perspective of embodied
performance can open new windows into historical inquiry, windows that are otherwise inaccessible through more traditional archival, text- and image-based methods.

Listening for a Good Death: Sound Ethnography in Turkish Cemeteries and Seas

Dr. Denise Gill (Stanford University)

Thursday, October 25, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)

How do sound and water ensure a good death? This talk engages sonic and tactile examples from my recent ethnographic research in Turkish cities and coasts to demonstrate the urgent need for new methods to study aurality and listening in music studies broadly. Rethinking normative approaches to critical theories in musicology, ethnomusicology, and sound studies, I analyze pivotal intersections of sound, melody, and water as they manifest in Sunni Muslim funerary rituals. I elucidate innovative usages of sound technologies, emergent forms of listening during trauma, and consciousness-raising sound art developed as a response to refugees’ crossings of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. My theoretical interrogations of sound, water, and end of life issues are grounded in my experiential training and care labors in Istanbul’s Karacaahmet Cemetery.

Watching out for Dykes (on Broadway)

Dr. Ailsa Craig (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Thursday, February 28, 2019 (7:30 p.m.)

Starting from a point of autoethnographic reflection, this talk is an academically grounded fan-investigation of the hit musical, “Fun Home.” The talk explores sexual identity, resonance, and the power of representation in this Tony award-winning musical about the relationship between a young dyke and her (closeted) gay father. While the associations between musical theatre and gay male culture are commonly recognized and academically explored, there is no parallel connection between lesbian or dyke culture and the world and ways of musical theatre. The one notable exception to this is found in “Fun Home” which is the musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir of the same name. Drawing from work on gay male culture and musical theatre, as well as literature on the social roles and impact of musical theatre as form of cultural production, this talk explores how lesbian representation in “Fun Home” can be understood as parallel to or parting from the usual connections made between gay male culture and musical theatre. The overall aim of this exploration is to lead the audience to reflect on why—and how—it matters to see a dyke on Broadway.

The Call as Sonic Act: Ethics, Interpellation, Engagement

Dr. Luis-Manuel Garcia (University of Birmingham)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 (7:30 p.m.)

To call, to call on, to call out, to call up, to call in, to call over. Calls permeate musical and sonic life, drawing us into sticky social webs and tugging on our sense of responsibility. This lecture considers “the call” as a sonic act that exerts a kind of social force on others, raising questions about the ethics of sonic engagement. The recent “ethical turn” in electronic dance music will provide a case study for this exploration, drawing upon Louis Althusser's notion of “interpellation” to make sense of the complex play of power and complicity that take place when actors call each other into roles, identities, and relationships.

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