The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

February 17, 2018

Justice Music erhu older sarangi

SVA - Cross-Cultural Human Relations, 2006-7 (not my title)
(course assigned to me; I subbed; my notes/direction below)

Subject: re: LAST CLASS - please read
This coming Wednesday is our last class.

These issues concern all of us, no matter what our beliefs - and
they'll become increasingly visible as time goes on. My own
feeling is that humans aren't programmed to "really listen" to
one another - we're programmed instead to survive. But if we
don't learn to listen, survival will become increasingly
problematic. Maybe Listen! - that might be the only message

See you Wednesday, and thanks -

- Alan

genre and canon
- The world appeared fixed, clarified, imperial.
NOW the world:
a. Skein / membrane - social networking - knowledge management of
knowledge management.
b. Hierarchical in terms of digital phenomena: C:\ - root,
absolute truth in the small - relative truth in the large.

Internet - good or bad -
My own take:
a. First there's obvious access to other cultures' information -
presented by participants in these cultures. One might follow
'threads' across the Web.
b. On the other hand - who is providing the information? Is
there spoofing or phishing involved? But: information that's
provided is very likely to be authoritative. But: NGO, religous,
or governmental sites may provide formal and  biased information.
(Cases: North Korea's Radio Pyong Yang, ham radio, Voice of
America, Radio Netherlands, BBC.)
:   WHO is providing information?
:   WHY are they providing it?
:   WHAT do they hope to gain from this?
:   HOW are they providing it (Web style, navigation, etc.)
c. On the third hand, the fragmentary nature of online
information: how is information parcelled out in general? Can
specific/anecdotal online infor- mation replace theory,
ethnography, critical studies, etc.?
d. Issues of the ECONOMY OF ATTENTION; it's not enough to have
the information up - it must attract attention, and hold
attention, in a busy online environment.

Conservative viewpoint: freedom, personal merit, discipline,
prudence, moderation, responsibility, self-restraint, hard work,
authority, order, decency, elitism, non-permissiveness.

The ascription to the Other of the Inverse of the Self. The
assumption of universal rationality, particular traits. But even
the syllogism is open to reinterpretation, transformation.

The Western view of either radical disconnect or only formal

packets of modernization:
communication modes
modes of abstraction and alienation (including plastics, etc.)
modes of mobility
overarching dialects = language as carrier of power
::    slang and lingo
implicit colonialist attitudes
::    one-way vector
::    purity and cleansing
::    transportation
::    problematic of the granularity of locale
::    formal historiography (problem with Sidi Sultan)
dissolution of locale, movement to urban centers
plastic, for example, as _obdurate._
radio as steering mechanism, external voicing
feedback mechanisms (Taos use of Smithsonian accounts)
commodification of music and culture:
      use of western scales, musics, electricity
      tourism and dissolution of 'bush knowledge'
      musical 'reach' within music industry, entertainment industry
      influence of world-music
modeling based on hegemonic culture

'depth' of subcultures, musical cultures: punk, hippy, etc. -
Josh White's "invisible colleges"
Pamela Tracy: Why don't you act your color? Identifications
cutting/colliding across all sorts of boundaries:
m/f, black/white, in-group/out-group, musical taste
Why does music, among other forms, engender identity issues so
strongly? What is music?

Does the analysis of modernization apply here:
Where does our music come from?
Who does our music?

Is one form of music 'inherently' better than another?

Hebdidge: the recuperation of styles: "conversation of
subcultural signs into mass-produced objects" the 'labelling'
and re-definition of deviant behavior by dominant groups endless
discussion with Myk, can one be punk?

resistance and its commodification: CBGB as a case in point.
- images from CBGB

The complex history, mirroring, and identification of
black/white music paralleling the same complex history in
relation to Zines.

Hebdidge quoting Barthes the petit-bourgeois as a person unable
to imagine the other, the other is a scandal which threatens his
existence. Two strategies dealing with this:

1 The Other can be trivialized, naturalized, domesticated -
      Otherness reduced to sameness.

2 The Other can be transformed into meaningless exotica, a 'pure
      object, a spectacle, a clown.' Here difference is consigned to
      a place beyond analysis.

headings: Style as Intentional Communication, Style as
Bricolage, We are surrounded by emptiness, but it is an
emptiness filled with signs, Lefebvre

first: what is it about dance/music? Primates react, new studies
show that infants react, primarily to rhythm - it's built-in -
how does an aural environment work:
      think of sound as second-person, atmospheric, goes around
      corners, etc.

Intersecting groups:
      Jewish/Native American (recital of Kaddish)

Traditional musics turned upside-down (becoming topical, similar
to griot)
- form of resistance, reclaiming tradition: singing as signing:
      "our" music for example - Papago ownership of songs and
      song-cycles, giving songs

Zines = underground economy. What happened to them?
Phrack at
Scream-Baby and

One must remember that most peoples live normal lives in
familiar surroundings, and all peoples are modern.

1. The Eden of the Edenic - an unsullied paradise; white
       hegemonic culture then becomes sullying, but also
       encapsulating. The Edenic becomes a dominated sub-culture by
       virtue of the lie; it resists, imitates, and adapts. All of
       this is clear in the film.

The Edenic trope is one of childhood, naivete, goodness, lack of
conflict, even lack of culture. The individual is "at one" with
nature; nature and culture are one. The culture is
self-sustaining and inert; nothing changes. Even sexual display
and conflict is non-existent. At the back of this at times there
is also the idea of unbridled sexuality.

The trope is also one of destruction; the Edenic has no concept
of ownership or stewardship; THEREFORE the land is there for the
taking. The Edenic has no sense of monotheism; THEREFORE the
humans are close to animals, sub-humans.

The Edenic has no recognizable boundary, THEREFORE no rationale,
no rationalism; it cannot be negotiated with, but property must
be seized, and by seizure, created.

The lie appears because the Edenic is under erasure just as soon
as it's formulated. By erasure: it's divested of power, because
it's asserted never to have power, never to have legitimacy.
Religion is entangled in this of course.

Then -


What constitutes territorialization:
(unspoken) codes:
dress		skin-color	religion	language
habitus behavior	ingroup/outgroup phenomena
defense		fear		employment etc.

code projections:
dirty		filthy		over-sexed	'want our women'
noisy		rapacious	greedy		secretive etc.

the projections are part of the local unspoken code

in terms of sexual/personal relationships:
race		class		age		religion etc.

[linear/structural grid. what happens with deterritorialization,
nomadic or situational phenomenologies? feminism and feminist
phenomenology: Luce Irigaray, feminin ecriture, fluid mechanics.

catastrophe theory: fragility of the good; consider: a chain is
as strong as its weakest link under capital, preferential
treatment for the wealthy

among human relations: tendency towards hardening and
generalization of categories (Borges' tree, racial definitions,
etc.) -
on one hand the necessity of economy
on the other the violence of economy

what happens when a 'mix' occurs? (Ali's dilemma)
double-bind theory - Laing and others
fitting-in and not fitting-in and with whom?

== Among different nationalities here. But even within the same:
Do you ever know what's happening? Language as the mutual
orientation of cognitive domains (Maturana) again.

messiness precisely brings forth the truth:
1. the world is messy
2. the world is lateral (think of Feynman diagrams)
3. knowledge is grounded in the body
4. the world is abject (always on the verge of falling apart)

(unspoken) codes again -
dress		skin-color	religion	language
habitus behavior	ingroup/outgroup phenomena
defense		fear		employment

feminism and feminist phenomenology: Luce Irigaray, feminin
ecriture, fluid mechanics.

Missionary texts: - last week -

1. inerrancy of position based on perceived inerrancy of text
2. skewed projections and introjections - misrecognitions,
misinterpretations - but also an inability to self-critique or
operate on a 'meta-level.'
3. inability to understand one mythos substituted for another
4. Eurocentric viewpoint: What constitutes an inability to perceive?
5. linear and 'rational' discourse: A leads to B, and so forth

It ends here. Some hopelessly naive; I did the best I could.
Teaching the problematic or diffuse proved disenheartening.
I didn't apply again.


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