The Unstable Platforms and Uneasy Peers of Brave New World Music
Wayne Marshall, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT
Tuesday, December 14, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
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Driven by the proliferation of accessible music and video-production software and the connective possibilities of the social web, public culture is being remade in the wake of user-generated content, including the ever curious category of world music. So-called platforms such as YouTube or Jamglue play host to new genres, dance steps, and remixes from around the world, incubating local scenes and circulating aspiring artists' productions to peers near and far. In contrast to its creation by a consortium of British music-industry players in the 1980s, a multinational network of grassroots producers, DJs, and bloggers are renegotiating and redefining the freighted but inclusive term. But while this bottom-up revision of world music can be seen as a valuable development, queasy connections with its earlier incarnation, and the power relations and ideas about difference it embodied, also persist.
Wayne Marshall is an ethnomusicologist focusing on the musical and cultural production of the Caribbean and the Americas, and their circulation in the wider world, with particular attention to digital technologies. While a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, he's writing a book on music, networked media, and transnational youth culture. He recently co-edited and contributed to Reggaeton (Duke University Press 2009) and has published in journals such as Popular Music and Callaloo while writing for popular outlets like The Wire and the Boston Phoenix. He holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has taught courses at Brandeis, Brown, University of Chicago, and Harvard Extension School. He is also an active DJ and maintains and runs the blog and website, www.wayneandwax.com.