Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
And on a slightly different note, I'm very excited, because one of my dear friends has been offered a fellowship by my department from the fall. I really hope she accepts.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I remembered seeing this ad, and not paying much attention to it at the time. It is long, and rather boring. The flood of objections on the New York Times site, however, are much more interesting. Notice, in particular,
no. 8 "Once one puts an "ethnic" accent on an animated character, one raises the spectre of stereotyping and beyond. Ever watched "Finding Nemo"? I got the same queasy feeling - why does this fish talk like, in my opinion, an inner city "African American"?"
no. 13 "I was offended by the ad using Cavemen. I have many Cavemen friends myself, and I find them very intelligent, well-spoken people. Hey, they invented the wheel. Sure they can be a little bit on the hairy side, and they don't take advantage of the dental plan offered at work, but media's constant protrayal of these men as perpetual abusive grunters goes way over the line. I'm surprised Neanderthal-Americans have not spoken up on this issue."
no. 14 "I thought sales genie made a nod to acknowledging the real world when they made a fellow named Chakrabarty the successful salesman in the ad. He did have a south Asian accent, but a real one rather than a caricature."
no. 15 "Had they given the Pandas accents that were non-stereotypical, say British, or California Valley Girl dialects, the commercial would have been more memorable, funnier, and offended far fewer people."
So it's good to represent diversity in ads, so long as everyone sounds alike? British or California Valley Girl accents are less offensive than Chinese or African American? Nemo sounds African American?
I admit I can see how these things could be offensive. The broken English is not good. But sometimes I miss South African senses of humour.
on the other hand, SA banned this priceless gem
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Below is list number 2 for my comps. This one focuses on issues of voice and race. There is a huge amount of material on race and music, but in the interests of producing a list I can actually get through by April 11, I am focusing explicitly on singing voices. The anomaly, then, occurs at the final two entries on the list, which deal with speaking voices, but in such a literalist, hard-science way, that I couldn't resist adding them. I did a vaguely tongue-in-cheek experiment with my students last semester, playing them the same piece of music sung by a counter tenor, a female soprano, a treble and a digitally constructed combination voice, and asking them to guess which was which. I once joked that a similar experiment with singers of various races would be interesting. And now I find someone has done it! And written a PhD thesis on it!!
And just because I think it is worth saying, the article by Grant Olwage called "The Class and Colour of Tone" is, in my opinion, the strongest writing on this topic available at present. Well worth a read.
Racialized voices bibliography
Antelyes, Peter. “Red Hot Mamas: Bessie Smith, Sophie Tucker and the Ethnic Maternal Voice in American Popular Song.” In Embodied Voices: Representing Female Vocality in Western Culture, ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Nancy A. Jones, 212–29. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Averill, Gage. Four Parts No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Hardy, Sarah Madsen, and Kelly Thomas. “Listening to Race: Voice, Mixing, and Technological ‘Miscegenation’ in Early Sound Film.” In ClassicHollywood, Classic Whiteness, ed. Daniel Bernardi, 415–41. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
Lavitt, Pamela Brown. “First of the Red Hot Mamas: ‘Coon Shouting’ and the Jewish Ziegfeld Girl.” American Jewish History 87/4 (December 1999): 253–90.
Leonard, Neil. Jazz and the White Americans: The Acceptance of a New Art Form. London: Jazz Book Club, 1964.
Lhamon, W. T. Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip-Hop. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.
Mann, Geoff. 2008. “Why does country music sound white? Race and the voice of nostalgia” in Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 31 No. 1 January 2008 pp. 73_100
Olwage, Grant. 2002. “Scriptions of the choral : the historiography of black South African choralism” in SAMUS: The South African Journal of Musicology Vol. 22, pp. 29-45.
___. 2004a. Music and (post)colonialism : the dialectics of choral culture on a South African frontier. PhD Thesis, Rhodes University. Grahamstown: South Africa.
___. 2004b. “The Class and Colour of Tone: An Essay on the Social History of Vocal Timbre” in Ethnomusicology Forum Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 203-226.
Michael Rogin. 2002. “Blackface, White Noise: The Jewish Jazz Singer Finds His Voice” in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18, No. 3. (Spring, 1992), pp. 417-453. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0093-1896%28199221%2918%3A3%3C417%3ABWNTJJ%3E2.0.CO%3B2-5
Rubio, Phil. “Crossover Dreams: The ‘Exceptional White’ in Popular Culture.” In Race Traitor, ed. Noel Ignatiev and John Garvey, 148–61. New York: Routledge, 1996.
Stras, Laurie. 2007. “White Face, Black Voice: Race, Gender, and Region in the Music of the Boswell Sisters” in Journal of the Society for American Music Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 207–255
Walton, Julie H. 1992. Speaker race identification from acoustic cues in the vocal signal. Ph. D. Thesis, Memphis State University.
Walton, Julie H. and Robert F. Orlikoff. 1994. “Speaker Race Identification From Acoustic Cues in the Vocal Signal” in Journal of Speech and Hearing Research Vol.37 738-745 August 1994.