Film Strip image from Wikimedia Commons

Film Strip image from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, November 21, 2013

December 12: Meenasarani Linde Murugan and Hannah Frank on Cultural Production in the Twentieth Century

Please join the Chicago Film Seminar at 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 12 to welcome Meenasarani Linde Murugan (Ph.D. Candidate at Northwestern) for her talk, "Offbeat: Afro-Orientalism in Postwar Music on Television," and Hannah Frank (Ph.D. Candidate at U.Chicago) for her talk, "What Happens Between Each Frame: Or, The Photographic Reproduction of Documents."  Nick Davis (Northwestern) will provide the response. The CFS will be held at DePaul's Loop Campus in the Daley Building at 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room LL 102, using the State St. entrance located at 247 S. State.

Thursday, December 12 at 6:30pm
Meenasarani Linde Murugan, Ph.D. Candidate, Northwestern 
"Offbeat: Afro-Orientalism in Postwar Music on Television"
Hannah Frank, Ph.D. Candidate, U.Chicago
"What Happens Between Each Frame: Or, The Photographic Reproduction of Documents"
Respondent: Nick DavisNorthwestern

Murugan describes her talk as follows:

Scholarship on popular music often emphasizes the 1960s youth counterculture in fostering Indian music in the US.  Yet before this, classical Indian musicians, Ali Akbar Khan on sarod and Chatur Lal on tabla, were sponsored by the Ford Foundation to come to the US and perform on Omnibus (CBS, April 10, 1955). Lal made another appearance on the program with jazz drummer Jo Jones (CBS, December 2, 1956). In a moment of musical conversation and collaboration they improvised riffs on Juan Tizol's "Caravan." Two performers of color visualize this musical meeting of "East" and "West." In contrast to the commonplace white appropriation of Indian culture in the 1960s, I recover postwar music's engagements with India to reveal an Afro-Orientalism. While I draw from the popular press, LPs, film, and radio broadcasts, I want to emphasize the importance of television as an emerging institution in representing, mobilizing, and/or limiting this intermingling. I argue that postwar music on television performed Orientalism in a manner that resonated with a transnational Afro-Asian solidarity. Yet, as Afro-Orientalism in art and politics often consisted of messy translations and false equivalencies of oppression, I demonstrate how television's musical representations of India trafficked in various contradictions in regards to the sonic and visual expressions of race, nationality, and ethnicity.

Frank describes her talk as follows:

This talk is adapted from my dissertation, "The Traces of Production: Art, Labor, and the American Animated Cartoon, 1928-1961," which proposes an aesthetics of celluloid animation that engages critically with labor practices at the major U.S. studios (e.g., Walt Disney, Warner Bros., Walter Lantz, United Productions of America, etc.). Drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin and Allan Sekula, I argue that animated cartoons double as photographic records of historical documents. If read frame-by-frame, animated cartoons can yield evidence of a production process that would otherwise be obscured. My talk seeks to demonstrate this claim through the close examination of two shorts from 1941, Bob Clampett's Meet John Doughboy and Walter Lantz's $21 a Day (Once a Month).

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