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Nov 20, 2021 03:00 PM - 04:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211120T1500 20211120T1650 America/Chicago Genres after the end of genre

Are we done with musical genres? A recent _New Yorker_ article by Amanda Petrusich provides intriguing glimpses into the ways today's artists and music-industry personnel talk about genre. But it arrives at a familiar bottom line: genre is "increasingly irrelevant," "inherently backward-looking," and irredeemably "reductive." Stopping short of these conclusions we might ask the broader questions they gesture toward: how, where, and for whom are genres still relevant? How do genres look back on the past, color the present, and seek to shape possible futures? And how do genres both expand _and_ reduce our sense of what there is and what might be--how, that is, do genres mediate our experience of works, cultural practices, social formations, and one another? Petrusich underscores a key point about the connections between genre-consciousness and anti-Blackness, however, noting that the cruellest kind of reduction genres underwrite is the idea that a particular genre maps onto a particular demographic. 

This panel convenes seven scholars who have considered how genres have been intertwined with race, racism, Blackness, and "Black music." Papers engage a range of musics--country, digital popular musics in Kenya, jazz and "creative music," late-modern Western art music, opera, pop, soul--to treat genres as unstable constellations of works, people, practices, institutions, technologies, money, conventions, images, spaces, ideas, affects, facial expressions, and much else. Genres here reflect the ways they're blurred, stretched, pushed, trespassed on, and performed "eccentrically" (Royster).

By focusing on how musical genres work in a putatively "post-genre" moment, this discussion aims to bring out the ethical, ontological, and epis ...

AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org

Are we done with musical genres? A recent _New Yorker_ article by Amanda Petrusich provides intriguing glimpses into the ways today's artists and music-industry personnel talk about genre. But it arrives at a familiar bottom line: genre is "increasingly irrelevant," "inherently backward-looking," and irredeemably "reductive." Stopping short of these conclusions we might ask the broader questions they gesture toward: how, where, and for whom are genres still relevant? How do genres look back on the past, color the present, and seek to shape possible futures? And how do genres both expand _and_ reduce our sense of what there is and what might be--how, that is, do genres mediate our experience of works, cultural practices, social formations, and one another? Petrusich underscores a key point about the connections between genre-consciousness and anti-Blackness, however, noting that the cruellest kind of reduction genres underwrite is the idea that a particular genre maps onto a particular demographic. 

This panel convenes seven scholars who have considered how genres have been intertwined with race, racism, Blackness, and "Black music." Papers engage a range of musics--country, digital popular musics in Kenya, jazz and "creative music," late-modern Western art music, opera, pop, soul--to treat genres as unstable constellations of works, people, practices, institutions, technologies, money, conventions, images, spaces, ideas, affects, facial expressions, and much else. Genres here reflect the ways they're blurred, stretched, pushed, trespassed on, and performed "eccentrically" (Royster).

By focusing on how musical genres work in a putatively "post-genre" moment, this discussion aims to bring out the ethical, ontological, and epistemological questions genres pose: who's doing this for whom, and who's left out, when the very "genre of the human" (to use Sylvia Wynter's formulation) is foreclosed to many people who should be an artistic genre's stakeholders? If as Katherine McKittrick says, quoting Wynter, musical practices rely on "collaborative possibilities wherein 'one _must participate_ in knowing,'" how do genres enable and constrain that participation? One thing genres keep doing, we'll see, is to help us ask what and whom we care about, and _how_ we care.

Queen's University
University of Michigan
Oxford University
McGill University
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