Joshua Solomon


Friday, October 16, 3:00-5:00PM in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
Joshua Solomon, “Mass Twang/Folk Twang: A New Historiography of the Aesthetics of Tsugaru-jamisen

On Friday, October 16, please join us in welcoming Joshua Solomon, who will present a work-in-progress version of a dissertation chapter. As Joshua explains, “This chapter offers a new historiography of Tsugaru folk music, with an emphasis on technological appropriations and the critical role of production.  Through a detailed close up of the musician Takahashi Chikuzan’s musical and cultural discourse, I argue that the historical trends of capitalization and massification of Tsugaru folk music, and Tsugaru-jamisen in particular, reflect a fundamental shift in away from a “folk epistemology.”  I do not suggest a narrative of irretrievable loss; on the contrary, I suggest that the sujimichi [principle] of a non-modern Tsugaru aesthetic economy is inherited in much contemporary shamisen performance, although in sometimes significantly muted forms.  Based on these observations, I suggest a wider critique of the ways in which we modernized and massified scholars might prepare ourselves to approach non-modern/ folk musics in the future.”

A draft of Joshua’s paper is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact David Krolikoski at davidkroli at or Brian White at bmwhite at