Just a friendly reminder for today’s joint EthNoise! + Sound and Society workshop, April 6th from 5:00–6:30pm CT in JRL 264. It is an honor to be co-hosting Charles Kronengold (Stanford University) to discuss his work in progress. We will have refreshments and hope to see you there!
Dr. Charles Kronengold
Assistant Professor of Music
“How Archives (and We) Change Theory”
Today, April 6th | 5:00–6:30 pm CT
Regenstein JRL 264
Cosponsored by Sound and Society
Abstract: Stephen Best’s None Like Us examines a powerful lure of the post-Foucauldian “archival turn”: the hope that research into the archive of Atlantic slavery and colonialism “has made for the possibility of a ‘we’…for the emergence of centripetal social bonds” across time and space. This paper listens into a mid-twentieth-century archive that tests this possibility: hundreds of soul, gospel, funk, and disco songs that actually say “we,” “us,” and “ours.” These songs say “we” knowing that (as June Jordan wrote about AAVE speakers) “our language is a system constructed by people constantly needing to insist that we exist, that we are present.” And each song says “we” in full awareness of many other songs that do so. These songs themselves—in their moment—perform what Best has called “archivization”: “a process whose goal is both to preserve some record of black culture and to deform it in the process.” Taken together these instances show how archives can change theory. We’ll hear how these songs help create new kinds of body/mind, self/other, us/them, and human/object relations, new forms of mediation, and new sorts of analytical objects.
Biography: Charles Kronengold writes and teaches about music, film, and aesthetics. He is the author of Living Genres in Late Modernity: American Music of the Long 1970s (UC Press) and, with his Stanford Colleague Adrian Daub, The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism (Oxford University Press). His recently-finished second monograph, Crediting Thinking in Soul and Dance Music, tracks the varieties of verbal and nonverbal thinking in Black American musics from the late 1950s through the early 1980s; this book seeks to broaden our sense of what counts as thinking and thoughtfulness—in music and beyond. Since 2008 he has taught music history at Stanford, where he has also been a faculty fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center and affiliated faculty of the Program in American Studies, the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, and the Program in Modern Thought and Literature.