Sex and Bodies in Electronic Music
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~~~~Fall 2017 - "Sex and Bodies in Electronic Music" (Professor Benjamin Tausig, Stony Brook University)~~~~
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The category of "electronic music" describes at least a century of genres and sonic practices. Both in possession of and possessed by instruments that function as mighty totems of modernity, human actors have discovered in electronic music a means of refiguring identity, sexuality, and even the human itself. This course is an empirically-focused examination of bodies and sex in a variety of electronic music cultures, from early 20th-century South India to 1980s Paisley Park, from the hypermodernity of South African studios to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. There will be weekly readings and brief written responses, in addition to a final paper or project. This course is open primarily to graduate students including DMA, MM, and PhD level. Undergraduates may be accepted under specific circumstances. Some familiarity with musical analysis (broadly defined) is expected, although no specific experience with electronic music is required.
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ScheduleText/media in classReadingsArtist presentationsKey Topics
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Week One (August 31 2017)Cat Hope's "Make for Change" (keynote); "schematic" of electronic music pioneers (image); Hal's death scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey (film); "Modulations: A History of Electronic Music" (compilation)NoneNone1) Why sex and bodies? 2) What is electronic music? 3) Why do we figure musical histories in biological terms? 4) Race and gender beyond representation 5) Music and technoscience
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Week Two (September 7)"Drexciya: Infinite Journey to Inner Space" (documentary)Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto"; Tara Rodgers, "Toward a Feminist Epistemology of Sound"; Anne Carson, "The Gender of Sound"Janelle Monáe, Model 500, Dopplereffekt, Laurie Anderson1) Transhumanism and cyborgs 2) Sex, bodies, and labor 3) Figuration
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Week Three (September 14)"808: The Movie" (documentary); Aaron Carl, "Down" (12"), Michiko Kakutani, "Escape Artists" (article)Alexander Weheliye, "Feenin'"; Kodwo Eshun, More Brilliant than the Sun, Sean Albiez, "Post-soul futurama: African American cultural politics and early Detroit techno"; Louis Chude-Sokei, "The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics"Drexciya, Newcleus, Shake1) Afrofuturism 2) The politics of instruments 3) Ability
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Week Four (September 21)Brian Fennelly, "A Descriptive Language for the Analysis of Electronic Music" (article); Marco Stroppa, "The Analysis of Electronic Music" (article); Megan Fogle, "Understanding Electronic Music: A Phenomenological Approach" (dissertation); Mark Butler, Unlocking the Groove (book), Dayton Clarence Miller, The Science of Musical Sounds (book)J Lin, Ursula Bogner1) What languages have been devised to describe and analyze electronic music? 2) Examining discourses of electronic music
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Week Five (September 28)"The Story of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop" (article)Tara Rodgers, Pink Noises (book)Delia Derbyshire, Beate Bartel, Suzanne Ciani1) The fetish of the studio 2) Women in the studio
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Week Six (October 5)"Remixing: Decolonial Strategies in Cultural Production" (article)Louise Meintjes, Sound of Africa! (book); Dale Chapman, “That Ill, Tight Sound”: Telepresence and Biopolitics in Post-Timbaland Rap Production" (article)Wendy Carlos, Halim El-Dabh1) Studio fetish and race 2) Global circulations
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Week Seven (October 12)Bumblebee Unlimited (artist); "Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder Created the Template for Dance Music as We Know It" (article)Tim Lawrence, Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980 1983 (book); "Disco Demolition: Riot to Rebirth" (documentary), Marlon Bailey, Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit (book)Black Madonna, Discwoman (label), Big Freedia1) Electronic music as foil to whiteness
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Week Eight (October 19)bell hooks, "Cultural Transformation and Criticism" (article)Touré, I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon (book); Shante Paradigm Smalls, "Queer Hip Hop: A Brief Historiography" (article)CC Hennix, Underground Resistance1) Prince 2) Hip hop production
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Week Nine (October 26)Wonder Girls (artist); Wonder Gays (artist)Dredge Kang, "Idols of Development: Trasnational Transgender Performance in Thai K-Pop Cover Dance" (article); Judy Soojin Park, "Searching for a Cultural Home: Asian American Youth in the EDM Festival Scene" (article)Elaine Radigue, Bebe Barron, Sylvester1) Queer spaces in Asia 2) Asian-Americans in EDM
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Week Ten (November 2)"Ten Electronic Extroverts from the Middle East and South Asia" (article)Arun Saldanha, Psychedelic White: Goa Trance and the Viscosity of Race (book)Personal Space and Electronic Soul (compilation)1) Race and Asia 2) the search for the other 3) Whiteness and straightness
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Week Eleven (November 9)Michael Veal, Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (book)Daphne Oram, Marian Zazeela1) Dub
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Week Twelve (November 16)Alejandro Madrid, Nor-Tec Rifa! Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World (book); Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, "Choreographies of Resistance: Latina/o Queer Dance and the Utopian Performative" (article); Celeste Fraser Delgado and José Esteban Muñoz, "Rebellions of Everynight Life" (chapter)K Hand, Cossi Fanni Tutti1) Queer dancefloor politics 2) Latin America
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Week Thirteen (November 30)"How Oakland’s Experimental Music Scene Became Queerer, Browner, and More Femme" (article)Hannah Bosma, "Gender and Technological Failures in Glitch Music" (article)
Nicole Lizzee, Cynthia Webster1) Glitch
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Week Fourteen (December 7)"Frances Morgan on Pauline Oliveros’s early electronic music" (article)Andra McCartney, "Gender, Genre, and Electroacoustic Soundmaking Practice" (article); George Lewis, "The Virtual Discourses of Pamela Z" (article)Frank Ocean, Conchita Wurst1) Electroacoustics
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Week Fifteen (December 14)Final presentations
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