Housekeeping: If you got an email from Scott to set up a meeting, please email him! He may not have gotten back to everyone yet, but those meetings are important to help orient you toward success in the rest of the class.
Here are the slides I will be teaching from in pdf form:
Pretty sweet deal with the reading response this week!!!
Keep working on P2!
Any questions so far?
I want us to specifically focus on the Hebdige and Lewis pieces today, and we’ll do some exercises with P2.
Hebdige 1979: A professor at UCSB who just retired this past summer! Influential in the field of cultural studies, sociology, music studies, a whole bunch!
What is style? What can be included in style?
How do we read style? What does it mean to make something a text?
Has anyone heard of postmodernism?
Get ready for a rollercoaster.
If I say let’s analyze this text, where does your mind go?
Let’s go with Shakespeare
But look at it from another perspective, does the message change when someone reads this out loud? What about puts it at 72 font on Word? What if the entire text was translated and performed in Korean??? We said we were analyzing Romeo and Juliet, but this person is currently screaming in Korean and this isn’t like any Romeo and Juliet performance I’ve ever seen.
Postmodernists as a group usually refer to texts as a series of floating signifiers, that we attach arbitrary meaning to “texts” (as broadly defined as possible) but that these meaning making systems are pliable.
ALL OF THIS TO SAY: Hebdige’s argument is that Punks don’t use imagery associated with the third reich because they believe in antisemitism, among other things. They do it because… Someone please answer this part!
What is the style being read here?
What is the floating signifier?
De jure vs. de facto
What is written versus what is true in reality/experience.
What was MTV’s de jure population they were trying to cater towards? This was the official tagline by the station…
What was the de facto content they provided?
Who’s subjectivity was represented here?
BUT: During that time, I will offer slots to students who want to come in and workshop their paper for the last time before turning them in. The way this will be most productive is if you come in with a paper that is ready to turn in that I can tweak and give you pointers on, instead of something like an outline.
THANK YOU!!! You folks have been an amazing cohort of students and I’m so proud of all of you for the work you’ve put in!
P1 papers are due today, Friday, and we will begin grading them as soon as Saturday.
Check in: How are you, and what is one thing you’ve been listening to that has been getting you through?
hooks, bell. 2003. “Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexuality in the Cultural Marketplace.” In The Politics of Women’s Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior. Second edition. Rose Weitz, ed. Pp 122-32.
What is culture? (We getting real meta today, folks!)
Can culture be owned?
Hint: who during our discussions of cultural appropriation think cultural is structural?
What is a cultural object? Examples?
What does it mean for culture to be commodified?
Talk to me about Tina Turner; who were they and what was the point hooks was making with this particular case study?
What is the critique hooks levies against Turner?
How were other Black women choosing to perform their personas? Examples?
Frith, Simon. 1996. “Rhythm: Race, Sex, and the Body.” In Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music. Pp. 123-44.
Two part lesson: On writing, and On Race and Body
What is Frith saying about the association between Blackness and dance/embodiment/rhythm?
What about whiteness, what is associated with it?
This assumption: essential or socially constructed? (Not that these are always binaries).
How does Frith accomplish this argument? What are the moves he uses when he is writing?
We’re going to be doing a lot of work on this today.
How are you folks doing? How is the course going? Fast? Slow?
Jones, LeRoi ‘Swing — From Verb to Noun’
What music is Jones (Baraka) centering here? What is swing?
Who remembers, from last week, the two “sides” of appropriation/mixing?
Hint: Davis and Malone
Would Jones (Baraka) agree or disagree with this statement: Black Americans have cultural ownership over jazz/blues.
How does Jones frame what Paul Whiteman or Benny Goodman does?
Are there any parallels you can think of today?
First piece of advice: If you would like to send me your Eli review statements and workshop it with me, I will accept them until 24 hours before the deadline of P1. The earlier you get it in, the better.
Second: If you think during the writing of the paper proper that you’re going in a different direction than originally planned, that’s ok!
What is “reverse engineering a thesis?”
This is when you organize your thoughts and supporting arguments around your topic into a centrally argued sentence that points the reader to what exactly it is you’re arguing.
John Mayer’s Sob Rock
Daniel likes Mayer’s new album because it reminds him of 80s music.
The synthesizers play a big role.
Daniel says that he uses music to memorialize moments (this is “our” song).
Daniel grew up with John Mayer’s music and has traced the development of his style with his own coming of age.
Reverse Engineered Thesis: Daniel’s use of music demonstrates a structural/functional use of music to index memories and nostalgia through the development of Mayer as an artist and iconic signs associated with music production of the last 50 years.
About 30 of you have completed it, it was due on Thursday!
Get it in as soon as possible. 🙂
Questions about the syllabus?
Drop something you’ve been listening to in the chat!
Page 9. What does Shuker mean by “media literacy” and “critical distance”?
Page 13-14. Everyone has “cultural capital” based on their own “social position,” according to French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.
Explain who Adorno was, his thoughts, and his impact. Same for Gramsci 🙂
What is high culture? What is low culture? Name some examples for each.
Page 20-21. A sense of “economic determinism” emerges out of the industrial/political economy view of popular music. What does it mean? What do you think is the relationship between consumption and production? Who is in control – the consumer or the industry?
One of the central case studies in this reading is the 1986 Paul Simon album called Graceland. Follow Feld’s description of Graceland. On page 242, he makes an important move in his argument by calling the collaborating musicians “wage laborers.” Then, Feld comes to the important concept of ownership within musical appropriation.Why does he call ownership a “boundary line” between the melody and countermelody of appropriation?
Page 246. Here is the crux of the article. Feld writes that James Brown is allowed to appropriate African rhythms into American funk and soul, and that Nigerian Fela Kuti can appropriate American music (through James Brown) into Nigerian Afro-Beat without receiving backlash and social critique. However, when the Talking Heads—a white, American rock band—appropriate musical styles from James Brown and Fela Kuti, they are critiqued harshly for negatively appropriating or even stealing their music. What is the central issue here, according to Feld?
PBS Blackface Minstrelsy Discussion
What were some key takeaways you got out of this material?
How did this relate back to what you read in Roediger?
Pages 118-19. What does it mean that blackface provided a stage for lower-class whites (and especially immigrants) to deal with urban anxiety and remember “preindustrial joys”?
Pages 120-22. How did blackface show provide a stage for white male and female sexuality? How were black bodies sexualized through white fascination and exoticism?
We’ll get more into the question of gender with folks like Angela Davis and bell hooks.
Pages 122-27. “…blackface entertainment was not merely about race relations but also about social relations among whites” (pg 123). Describe two specific social uses of blackface for white people, other than its use for overt racism.
How do I choose a topic? Where do I start? Why am I crying? Why did I wait so long to start this paper??? Help???
Pages 425-7. What is Rose’s definition of hip hop at the beginning of her analysis? What are the “primary properties” of hip hop culture? What are the central forms of hip hop?
Pages 427. Why should we study hip hop as a socio-cultural emergence from deindustrialization rather than from a practice of black sub-Saharan Africans?
Pages 428-33. Name a few specific industrial developments in New York City during the 1960s-70s. What sorts of communities did these developments affect? Why is the South Bronx a particular neighborhood for analysis?
Coates, Ta-Nehisi (2003)
This popular media article is about gangsta (“gangster”) rap. What do you know about gangsta rap? What images are in your mind with this music?
“As the music became more popular, it became more of a cartoon—eventually, the only cartoon in town.” What is Coates saying here about popular music and representation? According to Coates, in what ways were Blacks and Whites consuming these representations or “cartoons”? What kind of stereotypes did mediatized gangsta rap create?
Migraine this week, section didn’t happen. I appreciate those who reached out and checked in on me, meant the world!
Frith, Simon (1996)
He lays out a few binaries that seem to come in to play when studying culture; for example high vs. low, nature vs. culture, etc. Name all of these and try to understand how these binaries relate to race.
How did white audiences racialize early rock and roll, similarly to how they did jazz?
Explain “white-boy-wildly-sings-black” and “blacking up.”
How does rhythm figure into the discussion of African musics and the influences of African American musics regarding popular music in the United States?
The structure of writing that Frith is engaging with here is called a “strawman argument.”
He is NOT saying that there is a division between mind/body in the ideologies that surround rock and roll.
He IS saying that these divisions are constructions which are based in racist assumptions.
Menand, Louis (2000)
Quick Note: This is a piece from the New Yorker, therefore is NOT a scholarly source.
The basic theoretical framework that Menand is working with here is circulation. How are the Beatles “selling rock and roll back to America?”
How does race play into this selling back of rock and roll?
What were the aesthetic attributes of the Beatles?
Identities? Fashion? Music?
How were these different from early rock and roll stars, say, Chuck Berry?