Nov. 30 — Liz Hopkins

Please join us on Friday, November 30, 2018 at 11:00 AM in Cobb 311 for the next meeting of the Mass Culture Workshop. We are delighted to have Liz Hopkins, PhD Candidate in the Department of Music at The University of Chicago. She will be presenting a chapter in-progress from her dissertation entitled “Sonic Seascapes, Science, and the Chthulucene.”
**This workshop is co-sponsored with the Sound & Society Workshop.**

Liz’s chapter is available for download here.
Please do not circulate without permission.

Please email either Gary [gkafer@uchicago.edu] or Cooper [cooperlong@uchicago.edu] for the password.

Lunch with be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,

Gary and Cooper


Sonic Seascapes, Science, and the Chthulucene
This paper looks at two oceanographic documentary soundtracks — Jacques Cousteau’s use of Maurice Ravel in his 1976 Voyage to the Edge of the World, and Pierre Henry’s musique concrète score for Jean Painlevé and Geneviève Hamon’s 1965 film, The Love Life of the Octopus — as sites where midcentury poetics of science traversed ways of knowing and feeling. Here, wave forms engender a turbulent flow of aesthetic and historical metaphors: Greek mythology meets science fiction futurism, pastoral ballet gestures to space travel, colonialist politics meet conservational ethics. Following Donna Haraway, I ask whether sound—that “uneasy ocean of air”—might provide a way of understanding the “(s)cenes” in which we find ourselves: Cousteau’s “Capitalocene,” the single-player (Western) story of world relations against Painlevé’s “Chthulucene,” a way of understanding our historical epoch through “multispecies stories and practices of becoming-with.”

Liz Hopkins
Liz is Ph.D. candidate in the Music Department where she works on music and mass media in the mid-to-late twentieth century. Her work centers on musical sounds that function within narrative processes of worlding—ongoing forms of world-making imaginaries. Her current project focuses on space, gender, and knowledge in the first thirty years of the Cold War. In particular her work interrogates the idea of the Space Age and its intersection with domestic space, tracking slippages between environment, aesthetics, social practice, and the presumed stability of knowledge. Liz also holds a Master’s degree in flute performance.

Nov. 16, 2018 — Kara Keeling

Please join us on Friday, November 16, 2018 at 11:00 AM in Cobb 311 for the next meeting of the Mass Culture Workshop. We are delighted to have Kara Keeling, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at The University of Chicago. She will be presenting a chapter from her forthcoming book Queer Times, Black Futures (NYU Press, 2019). The chapter is entitled “World Galaxy.”

Kara’s chapter is available for download here.

Please do not circulate without permission.

Please email either Gary [gkafer@uchicago.edu] or Cooper [cooperlong@uchicago.edu] for the password.

Refreshments will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,

Gary and Cooper


World Galaxy

Alice Coltrane’s errant sonic experiments with Asian musical forms offer a way to think about a constellation of Afrofuturism that turns not towards outer space, as in the case of Sun Ra’s film Space is the Place (directed by John Coney, 2917), but towards an exploration of inner worlds as harbingers of another organization of things within the present. From a consideration of Alice Coltrane’s Afro-Asian imagination, I turn to Nnedi Okorafor and Wanuri Kahui’s recent speculations on Africa, in particular Okorafor’s 2010 novel Who Fears Death and Kahui’s short film Pumzi from 2009. These fictional texts offer errantry, myths, and stories as generative strategies through which the dystopian speculations of Africa on which corporate scenarios rely might be resisted, and the worlds those dystopian imaginations work to suppress can be felt.
Kara Keeling is Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at The University of Chicago. Keeling is author of The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Duke University Press, 2007) and coeditor (with Josh Kun) of a selection of writings about sound and American Studies entitled Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), and (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) a selection of writings by the late James A. Snead entitled European Pedigrees/African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). A second monograph, Queer Times, Black Futures, will be published in the spring of 2019 by New York University Press.