(2.25) Sydney Hutchinson, assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Syracuse University, will be hosting ‘Asian Fury: A tale of race, rock, and air guitar’ as part of Brown’s graduate program colloquium series.
Attending to race has become essential in ethnomusicology at least since publication of Music and the Racial Imagination (2001). And what sort of musical performance could be more imaginary than air guitar? Competitive air guitarists realized long before scholars that their art form provided an ideal means by which to contest the overwhelming whiteness of rock and electric guitar, sometimes extending their critique to include gender as well. Asian and Asian American competitors in particular used their one-minute stage performances to comment ironically on the emasculation of Asian males and the infantilization of Asian females through the construct of “Asian Fury.” Could these performances help viewers imagine a new kind of rock star? Might they – as competition organizers contend – even contribute to world peace? In this talk, Hutchinson offers answers to these questions (or rather, quAIRies) based on field research in Germany, Finland, and the US since 2009.
In addition to her extensive academic resumé, Hutchinson has conducted field research on air guitar, organized two city-wide air guitar competitions in Syracuse, and in her spare time, she yodels.
(Seen here is David “C-Diddy” Jung from the charming 2006 documentary ‘Air Guitar Nation.’)
Open to the public, 6pm to 7pm, Wednesday, February 25, Room 109, Orwig Music Building, 1 Young Orchard Avenue, (directions)