Scott Aalgaard



Thursday, December 1, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Scott Aalgaard, “Untimely Voices: Hearing Critique in Japanese Cultural Production”

Please join us this Thursday for a mock job talk by Scott Aalgaard (PhD Candidate, EALC). Scott summarizes his talk as follows:

In 2012, historian and Area Studies critic Harry Harootunian warned that our field was drifting toward what he sees as an uncritical sort of identity studies, wherein hitherto excluded voices of differences were finding inclusion in analysis in a manner that served merely to complete existing socioeconomic structures of power. Attending to Otherness, for Harootunian, is not a spatial exercise, but a temporal one: by attending to the non-contemporaneity of voices embedded in the social, heterological temporalities and histories can be uncovered that challenge normative temporality and consider what he terms “missed opportunities and defeated possibilities.” This talk will propose what I am terming “critical temporality” as a counterbalance to Harootunian’s “normative temporality,” and will suggest that the conjuring of such temporality is a critical tactic that is deployed intentionally by cultural figures, and that can be revealed through combined analyses of texts of cultural production and the contexts in which they are deployed. By attending to the untimely voices of poets, musicians, and social critics like Ryo Kagawa, Takada Wataru, and Soeda Azembo, and to the ways in which these figures make use of text – their own and others’ – in specific historical moments, I will show how analytical methodologies from Area Studies and ethnomusicology can combine to reveal precisely the sorts of productive challenges to “normative temporality” that Harootunian insists are essential components of critical reimagining of the social. Close attention to these voices will show how they resist a simple internal negation of the status quo, and endeavor to imagine what Harootunian would call “other histories.”

Please note the amended date for this event. Also note that there will be no pre-circulated paper for the talk. Drinks and refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you there!


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