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Lectures and Forums

The Ron Alexander Memorial Lectures in Musicology

The Ron Alexander Memorial Lectures, founded in 1991 in memory of Ronald James Alexander (1961–90), is a quarterly series of scholarly presentations by top scholars in musicology and ethnomusicology from around the world.

Lectures are free and open to the public. All will take place in person at Braun Music Center, Room 103, on Mondays at 5:00 PM.

For more information on these presentations, please contact Prof. Charles Kronengold.

Spring 2022

Noriko Manabe photo

Monday, April 25 at 5:00 PM (PT)
Noriko Manabe (Ethnomusicology, Musicology, and Music Theory, Temple University / Visiting Associate Professor, Stanford)
Topic: Intertextuality in Protest Music

Noriko Manabe is associate professor of music studies at Temple University and visiting associate professor in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford during 2021–22. Her research concerns music in social movements and popular music. Her book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music after Fukushima, won the John Whitney Hall Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, the Book Award from the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, and honorable mention for the Alan Merriam Prize at the Society for Ethnomusicology. She is editor of the 33-1/3 Japan book series on Japanese popular music and a co-editor (with Eric Drott) of the Oxford Handbook of Protest Music.|

Abstract: Intertextuality is pervasive in music of social movements across historical periods and geographies; song parodies have filled the broadsheets of 17th-century England and Randy Rainbow’s repertoire. Such intertextuality can capture attention through a familiar song and make possible the humor based upon its characteristics; it can also recall the social and political associations of the referenced lyric and music.

This talk examines why intertextuality is prevalent in protest music, how it is employed, and what impact it has on listeners and political discourse. It presents a typology of intertextuality in protest music, reconceptualizing Gérard Genette’s categories of text for performances, and explores how memory is summoned, augmented, and manipulated in political music. I consider the sociopolitical circumstances that influence the tactics used—the censorship process, copyright restrictions, and the stage of the political movement. I also discuss the unpredictability of interpretation and unintended consequences of intertextual usage.

Monday, June 6 at 5:00 PM (PT) | Reception to follow presentation
Dylan Robinson (Department of Language, Literatures, and Cultures; Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Queens University, Ontario)
Topic: Public Art’s Interpellation: Refusing the Anthropocentrism of Climate Grief

Abstract: This presentation considers human and non-human encounters with sound art works located in outdoor public spaces. Specifically, I address the ways in which public artworks interpellate the public as settler subjects, alongside other forms of interpellation that hail Indigenous and non-human publics. With numerous artists engaging in ecological art, I also examine the extent to which public art practices amplify climate grief, leaving the larger question of public art’s sonic and material relationships to land's life unspoken.

Professor Dylan Robinson is a xwélmexw (Stó:lō/Skwah) artist, curator, and writer. His book Hungry Listening (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) examines Indigenous and settler colonial practices of listening. It was awarded the Best First Book by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research, and it received the Labriola Centre American Indian National Book Award. Since 2015, Prof. Robinson has been the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University, Ontario. His curatorial work includes the international touring exhibition Soundings (2019-2025) co-curated with Candice Hopkins. His current research project xoxelhmetset te syewa:l, Caring for Our Ancestors, involves working with Indigenous artists to reconnect kinship with Indigenous life incarcerated in museums.