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Skidmore College

What was Miley thinking?

October 7, 2013
Deborah Wong, UC Riverside
Deborah Wong

University of California ethnomusicologist Deborah Wong will launch a new musically oriented lecture series at Skidmore College with a critical look at contemporary American pop music.

Her talk, titled “The Summer of 2013: White Heterosexist Performance and the Critical Consumer (or, What Was Miley Cyrus Thinking?)” is scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, in the Arthur Zankel Music Center. It is the inaugural lecture of the Judy Tsou ’75 Music Scholar Series at Skidmore. Admission is free and open to the public.

What’s been going on with American popular music over the last few months? Wong will consider how white heterosexist desire and longing drives our expectations in popular music. Was Miley’s twerk-tastic dance racist? How are unspoken ideologies of difference dependent on our willingness to enjoy them without questioning their terms?

Wong is an ethnomusicologist and professor of music at the University of California, Riverside, who specializes in the music of Asian America and Thailand and has written two books: Speak It Louder: Asian Americans Making Music (Routledge, 2004) and Sounding the Center: History and Aesthetics in Thai Buddhist Ritual (University of Chicago Press, 2001). She was president of the Society for Ethnomusicology from 2007 to 2009 and is very active in public sector work at the national, state, and local levels. She is a series editor for the Wesleyan University Press Music/Culture series and sits on the editorial committee for the University of California Press. Wong holds an M.A. and Ph.D. (1991) from the University of Michigan and a B.A. magna cum laude (1982), in anthropology and music from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Judy Tsou '75 Music Scholars Series is designed to introduce music students to prominent music scholars, especially those specializing in the interdisciplinary study of class, race, and gender. Tsou, a 1975 graduate, established the series to enable Skidmore’s Music Department to invite distinguished scholars to campus, where they can share their research/work on a range of musical topics.

For advance reservations to the inaugural Judy Tsou ’75 lecture by Deborah Wong, please click here or call the Zankel box office (518) 580-5321 for more information. The Zankel Music Center is wheelchair accessible and offers listening devices for the hearing impaired. Please click here for more information.

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