Speaking “Mexican” and the use of “Mock Spanish” in Children’s Books (or Do Not Read Skippyjon Jones)
Cinco de Mayo. ‘Tis the season when many Americans don sombreros, order their frozen margaritas, and, God help us, speak “Spanish.” We are well used to hyper Anglicized renditions of “amigo,” “adios,” and happy hour specials brought on by the commercialization of Cinco de Mayo. The holiday celebrates a significant event in Mexico’s history – the battle of Puebla and victory over France in 1862 – through narrowing ideas about language, culture, and tequila. That said, let’s not just blame Cinco de Mayo for the disconcerting use of Spanish. Unfortunately, the incessant use of phrases such as “ay caramba” and “no problemo” are heard much, much earlier in contemporary children’s books.
The New York Times recently published the startling figure that just 93 of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013 were about African American children. Within these few 93 texts, African American children all-too-often read about themselves within the past tense, in reference to slavery and civil rights legacies. Children of color are left to identify with the adventures and imaginative stories of white characters amid white settings. Aptly characterized as an, “apartheid of children’s literature,” two moving first-person accounts from Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers detail the significance of incorporating more characters of color for all readers. One major effect of this dearth of representation, according to Christopher Myers,
…is a gap in the much-written-about sense of self-love that comes from recognizing oneself in a text, from the understanding that your life and lives of people like you are worthy of being told, thought about, discussed and even celebrated.
Just as significant, is the number of children’s books about Latino children from the 2013’s trove of 3,200 books: 53. That’s 5-3. As a reminder, the United States Census tallied 53 million Latinos in the United States, representing the nation’s youngest demographic (children!).
However, perhaps worse than the actual lack is the rise of stereotypic in-your-face representations of race within children’s books – award-winning ones, actually – and their role in teaching children troubling ideas about race, language, and “difference.”
My name is Skippito Friskito. (clap-clap)
I fear not a single bandito. (clap-clap)
My manners are mellow,
I’m sweet like the Jell-O,
I get the job done, yes indeed-o.
Case in point: Skippyjon Jones, a Siamese cat that pretends to be a Chihuahua superhero. Skippyjon speaks English, but his super hero alter ego speaks in Mock Spanish in his recurring and imaginative quests. Speaking “Spanish” in hyperanglized fashion recasts Skippyjon from an English-speaking (white) cat to a Spanish-accented (brown) dog. His auditory performance of Mexicanness, what Reina Prado considers “sonic brownface,” reeks of white privilege as he code-switches from cat/white/English to dog/brown/”Spanish.” What’s worse, as a children’s book, directed at those between the impressionable ages of 4-8, Skippyjon encourages both adult readers and young readers to read out loud and perform sonic brownface. Listening to the book’s trite word choice (amigos, adios, frijoles), fake Spanish (indeed-o, mask-ito) and embellished accents (“ees” for is) trains the ear on how to speak “Mexican,” presumably, of course, for the listening amusement of non-Mexicans.
“I am El Skippito, the great sword fighter,” said Skippyjon Jones.
Apparently, these tried and true tactics sell quite well. This award-winning children’s book character, by Judy Schachner, has spawned into a lucrative empire that includes fourteen books, a coordinating plush toy figure, online webisodes of the books’ stories, CDs of Schachner reading out loud, the obligatory Ipad app, a starring role in the department store Kohl’s “We Care” charity campaign in 2012, and get this, a children’s musical. Of course, Skippyjon is not really recognized as a book series about Latinos (like fellow television darlings, Dora the Explorer, Handy Manny, or Dragon Tales) yet it taps into every flinching stereotype we know of, and should avoid, about Mexicans. Equating Mexicans and Mexican tales to the canine of a Chihuahua is hardly new but it does not make it less problematic.
For instance, in the inaugural self-titled Skippyjon Jones book, the cat’s adventures take place “far, far away in old Mexico.” Much like the perpetual placement of African Americans in the past tense within children’s books, situating Mexico in the imaginative past reinforces perceptions of all-things-Mexican as distant, foreign, and old. Skippyjon and his chimichangos – his sidekicks (good guys) –set out to save their rice and beans from Alfredo Buzzito and Bumblebeeto Bandito (bad guys). Zorro-esque masks, swords, fiestas followed by siestas, fellow Chihuahuas, piñatas, plenty of cacti, and lots of clap-clap cues frame the rice-and-bean rescue. His adventures, book after book, via a Skippito brown identity sends a disquieting message about power and privilege. Skippito, even when masked, still plays the role of Great White Hero to the masses of “Mexican” dogs.
Then all of the Chimichangos went crazy loco.
Several of Schachner’s Skippyjon books have received notable accolades including, for instance, the 2004 E.B. White Read Aloud Award and a spot on the coveted “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” by the National Education Association in 2007. The former comes with an adorning gold seal on future editions of honored books. A sampling of the series’ laudatory press, from the E.B White Read Aloud press release, “Peppered with Spanish expressions and full of energized fun, SkippyJon Jones is not only entertaining for the listener, it’s also enjoyable for the reader.” And from the author’s webpage: “Each of my adventures are ay caramba, mucho fun but they’re educational too!” The insinuation that the Skippyjon Empire teaches Spanish not only ignores the richness of Spanish but it also feeds popular ideals that Spanish is an “easy” and “fun” language to learn.
Schachner’s recurrent use of “Spanish,” in particular, not only structures the silly narrative adventures of Skippyjon as he imagines himself to be Skippito but the racialized language play has also become the hallmark element of Skippyjon. Written and read out loud by parents and teachers, some of Skippyjon’s signature phrases include “Holy Guacamole!” and “Holy Frijoles!” – textbook examples of Jane Hill’s renowned writings on Mock Spanish (or fake, incoherent Spanish uttered and deemed “funny” by non-native Spanish speakers). Because we already hold native Spanish-speakers (U.S. Latinos) with such little regard in the first place, Mock Spanish done for laughs, as argued by Hill, comes quite easily. Carmen Martínez-Roldán takes the Skippyjon Jones series to task in necessary detail; see her analysis of Mock Spanish in the equally troubling, Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse. Her emphasis on the cultural representations of Mexicans vis-a-vis language in children’s books supports my tirade against this cat/dog. Martínez-Roldán found that several teachers, particularly those from the Southwest, expressed a sense of inexplicable uneasiness to these books. Amazon ratings are (painfully) positive for Skippyjon, yet, according to Martínez-Roldán, those who expressed low ratings were “accompanied by lengthy explanations, mostly related to misrepresentations of Mexicans and the poor use of Spanish.” Her research calls for more diversity within children’s literature but, central to this essay, reminds us that U.S. Latinos hold both a personal and political relationship to Spanish.
Anthropologist Bonnie Urciuoli explains how Spanish, when overheard in designated public spaces (think: Cinco de Mayo or Mexican restaurants) is safely “ethnified,” yet Spanish is regarded as out of place or “racialized” when heard as bilingual announcements at local grocery stores or school sites. When heard by monolingual English speakers outside of its designated spaces in the U.S., Spanish carries “racialized” connotations such as “impoliteness” and “danger.” The insistence many American employers place on speaking English and prohibiting non-English language conversations at workplaces, for instance, speaks to the public boundaries imposed on Spanish and Spanish-speakers. (Yes, Whole Foods. I am looking at you.)
Jane Hill’s provocative argument, built from Uricuolli’s writings, examines Whites’ use of Spanish (Mock Spanish). Unlike Latinos, who learn early on to self-monitor where and how they speak English and Spanish, non-native speakers of Spanish do not carry this same burden, according to Hill. In fact, they have the privilege of speaking grammatically incorrect Spanish, in hyper Anglicized Spanish, or mockingly (by adding a stupid “o” or prefacing a phrasing with “el”) without surveillance.
Then, using his very best Spanish accent, he said, “My ears are too beeg for my head.
My head ees too beeg for my body. I am not a Siamese cat… I AM A CHIHUAHUA!”
In addition to overplayed colloquial expressions, Schachner demarcates a racial line with “visual accents” (“beeg” for big) (see Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, Priscilla Peña Ovalle and Sara V. Hinojos). In line with Uricuolli’s ideas, even Skippito’s English is accented and marked while in “Mexican” character. Readers stammer through “ees” and “beeg” in an effort, as prepped, to use their “very best Spanish accent.” The practice teaches children that accents are performative and easy to take on and off rather than hear accents as indicative of someone’s larger family histories of migration and culture.
For children unfamiliar with Mexicans and Latinos, these books cast Spanish with archaic imageries of Mexican bandits and modern-day Frito Banditos. Spanish is not used as a language to communicate given its incoherence. Instead, Schachner uses Spanish to laugh at Skippito and by extension, Mexicans and Latinos in the U.S.; its runaway success is indicative of how “funny” Spanish and Mexicans continue to be to White and/or monolingual English speakers.
For Latinos, these books plant early attitudes about their own language differences. For children positioned as the family translator or struggling to maintain a bilingual, bicultural existence, these books teach children to shun their accent and those of their families. These books are clearly not for my two kids, whose young ears are already familiar with their grandmother’s Spanish-accented English and their own mother’s English-accented Spanish.
“Vamos, Skippito- or it is you the Bandito will eato!”
Reading children’s books out loud and listening to race through scripted accents sends troubling messages about “difference” at an early age. Educators have long argued that children’s books serve as both mirrors and maps to affirm and inspire readers’ identities, experiences, and future motivations. True. But I would also argue that the woeful absence of more diverse children’s tales mirrors a number of campaigns directed at working-class, communities of color; namely, our nation’s shaky commitment to universal preschool, lack of public support for Women Infant and Children (WIC) and Food Stamp programs, and outdated approaches to parental leaves (six measly weeks). In particular, Skippyjon Jones is a kid’s rendition of grownup racial and language politics, a pint-size version of NAFTA and English-only propositions presented for five-year old audiences. These policies, like the woeful crop of contemporary books, do little to provide a map for the livelihoods of children of color. Instead, Skippyjon’s use of language, a reincarnation of Speedy Gonzalez normalizes English, white characters (even in brown drag), and helps keep Cinco de Mayo antics alive.
NOTE: On 5-8-14, the author added a passage to this article to reflect the relationship of her work to Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán’s “The Representation of Latinos and the Use of Spanish: A Critical Content Analysis of Skippyjon Jones” published in The Journal of Children’s Literature (2013).
Featured Image by Flickr user The Long Beach Public Library, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Dolores Inés Casillas is an assistant professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and a faculty affiliate of Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She writes and teaches courses on Latina/o sound practices, popular culture, and the politics of language. Her book, Sounds of Belonging: U.S. Spanish-language Radio and Public Advocacy will be published this fall by New York University Press as part of their Critical Cultural Communication series.
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Sonic Brownface: Representations of Mexicanness in an Era of Discontent–reina alejandra prado saldivar
This year’s American Studies Association meeting in Baltimore, Maryland (October 19th-23rd) marks a real tipping point for Sound Studies within the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. First of all, there was the publication of Kara Keeling and Josh Kun’s co-edited special issue for American Quarterly, Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies, this past September 2011. Packed with 17 cutting-edge essays—culled from a record breaking 80+ submissions—this must-read issue is, according to Keeling and Kun’s introduction, “a sign not only of sound’s quantitative currency but the promise of its future as a field of ongoing inquiry, and its importance and relevance to the future of American Studies itself” (452). In addition to its vibrant blend of emerging scholars and senior folk, the issue is notable for its head-on engagement of sound and power in multiple, intersecting dimensions: race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and national identity. The issue’s intervention tracing the aural edge to U.S. citizenship privilege is especially important, and game-changing for both American Studies and Sound Studies. If you have access to Project Muse, you may download the entire issue (or selected essays) through this link here. The issue also kicks off a new audio-visual web interface for American Quarterly, and you can look here to see and hear more from several authors in the issue.
We at Sounding Out! are proud to be mentioned in the introduction to AQ’s Sound Clash and to have five members of Team SO! featured in the issue: yours truly, Editor-in-Chief and Guest Posts Editor Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, and guest authors, D. Inés Casillas, Nina Eidsheim, Tara Rodgers, and Gayle Wald. Look for Sounding Out! posts in 2012 from more of the AQ special issue’s contributors, including Mack Hagood, D. Travers Scott, and Roshanak Kheshti. If you are headed down to B’more and you’d like to hear from many of these folks in person, American Quarterly is sponsoring a roundtable panel on Saturday, October 22nd, bright and early at 8:00 a.m. at the Hilton Baltimore Holiday Room 5. It will be moderated by Josh Kun (USC) and will feature Kara Keeling (USC), Asma Naeem (University of Maryland, College Park), Dustin Tahmahkera (Southwestern University), and Roshnak Kheshti (UCSD) as panelists. Look also for unscheduled guests to appear from the issue, such as Gayle Wald (George Washington) and myself (SUNY Binghamton)—ASA rules do not permit formal participation in more than one panel—and know that, despite the early tip-off time, Keeling and Kun will be taking full advantage of the session to give Sound Clash an enthusiastic and proper send off. Between now and then, I’ll be frantically figuring out how to clone myself, because a couple of the issue’s contributors, Tara Rodgers (University of Maryland) and Barry Shank (Ohio State), are unfortunately scheduled in two excellent competing sound studies panels that very morning (scroll down for full details)! Hopefully, when the ASA Sound Studies Caucus gets fully up and running, there will be less tortuously tantalizing research pile-ups like this one.
That’s right, I said the ASA Sound Studies Caucus. If the publication of the AQ special issue wasn’t awesome enough news, the word on the street is that next year, I may not have to do Sounding Out!’s beloved ASA conference pre-game round-up. Sound Studies is in the process of gaining that all-important indexing in the front of the American Studies Association conference program through the brand-new Sound Studies Caucus. Through ASA, the caucus is hoping to sponsor specific sound-related panels for forthcoming ASA meetings. This year’s reception is a planning session where interested parties can introduce themselves and become more involved in some of the caucus’s administrative tasks. The official meet up takes place on Saturday, October 22nd from 4-6 p.m. at the upstairs bar area of the Pratt Street Ale House (206 W. Pratt Street) and Team ASA SSC will be selling limited edition T-Shirts to fund raise for the group. Interested folks can join the Sound Studies Caucus Googlegroup in advance of the meeting and catch the latest breaking news.
The ASA Sound Studies Caucus came out of a 2010 working group of UC faculty called “Sounding Race” generously funded by a UC Humanities Research Institute Grant. The caucus centralizes race, gender, and sexuality to the study of sound and vice versa; in the words of their grant: “A new direction in sound studies suggests that sound, indeed, racializes, queers, and genders both the speaking subject as well as the listener.” The grant was authored by Deborah Vargas (UC Irvine), Roshanak Kheshti(UC San Diego), D. Inés Casillas (UC Santa Barbara and frequent Sounding Out! blogger), and Kevin Fellezs (formerly at UC Merced, now at Columbia University). We at Sounding Out! are thankful for their scholarship, enthusiasm, and their critical administrative labor; we look forward to hearing more from this collective both at the caucus meeting and at the sure-to-be-excellent roundtable: “ASA Committee on Ethnic Studies: Sounding Race” on Friday October 21st, at 10:00 a.m. in Hilton Baltimore Peale B. It will be moderated by Herman Grey (UC Santa Cruz) and will also include Kirstie Dorr (UC San Diego). Look for me at both events—I will be the one live-Tweeting furiously with a huge grin on my face, excited to be gathering with so many Sound Studies colleagues from across ASA’s many (inter)disciplines.
In addition, I will be representing Sounding Out! on a panel organized by Nicole Hodges Persley (University of Kansas) and sponsored by the American Studies Women’s Committee called “Digital Displays: Women Imagining Blogospheres as Alternative Public Spheres,” on Saturday, October 22nd from 2:00p.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Hilton Baltimore Holiday Ballroom 4. I will be joining Tanya Golash-Boza (University of Kansas, author of the blog Get a Life, Ph.D), Judy Lubin (Howard University, author of the blog Judy Lubin’s Leading Voices) and Jamie Schmidt Wagman (Saint Louis University) in a conversation about the role and power of blogging in contemporary academic careers. In particular, my paper, “Sounding Off About Sounding Out!: Emerging Scholars in an Emerging Field” will focus on the mission and history of our blog and its interventions in the problem of access for women, junior scholars, and scholars of color. Sounding Out! will continue the conversation beyond Saturday afternoon by publishing excerpts from my paper post-ASA. We hope that you will join us, either in person or by contributing your thoughts and comments when that post eventually goes live.
Below you will find Sounding Out!’s picks for panels, papers, and events of interest to Sound Studies scholars at ASA 2011. We’d like to thank IASPM (the US branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music for compiling the Popular Music Panels a few weeks back and add that our version of course understands “sound” more broadly: you’ll find music panels among work on urban soundscapes, theorizations of listening, research on sound and space, sound and race, sound and citizenship, as well as new research in the digital humanities for those interested in blogging and other audio-visual technologies, methodologies, and pedagogies. In addition to panels, I have also copiously trolled through the program looking for events of interest to sound studies scholars as well as individual papers housed on panels not ostensibly or exclusively about sound (another important measure of the health, usefulness, and influence of Sound Studies methodology across the board). If you find that I have missed you—or have placed your paper here in error—drop me a line at email@example.com and I will rectify the situation ASAP.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout out to local organizations and research projects in Baltimore that study sound, both as a gambit for Sound Studies scholars at ASA to think about how to foster relationships with site-specific colleagues and professionals at this and future meetings, but also as a way of introduction (or a welcome back) to the city that we will live in and be a part of for a few precious days this week. Here are links to the Baltimore Soundscape Project, an interactive, collective soundmap facilitated by the private nonprofit group The Hearing and Speech Agency, which began in Baltimore in 1926 and functions as a “direct service provider, information resource center, and advocate for people of all ages and incomes who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech-language disabilities”; Baltimore Sounds, a website run by Joe Vaccarino, a local musician, writer, and restaurateur, “dedicated to the history of past and present pop musicians throughout the Baltimore regional area” that features an extensive “Big List” of all musicians and groups in the area between 1950 and 2000; and the enjoyable Sounds of the Baltimore Oriole for a ornithological taste of “wild” Baltimore beyond the built environment. Take a good listen and I’ll see you all very soon. For the virtual experience, look for my live tweets via our Facebook and Twitter pages or on the official ASA backchannel: #2011asa.
Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman is co-founder, Editor-in-Chief and Guest Posts Editor for Sounding Out! She is also Assistant Professor of English at Binghamton University and a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm
African American Soundscapes and Sound Theory, Hilton Baltimore Tubman B
CHAIR: Alexander Weheliye, Northwestern University (IL)
PAPERS: Anthony Reed, Yale University (CT), “Some Echo of Haunting Melody”: W.E.B. Du Bois’ Musical Modernity
Noelle Morrissette, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (NC), James Weldon Johnson’s Soundscape of Modernity: Black Manhattan
Benjamin S. Glaser, Cornell University (NY), “They require(d) of us a song”: Psalm 137 and the Negro Renaissance
Carter Mathes, Rutgers University, Newark (NJ), Narrative Acoustics: “Free” Writing Black Consciousness
Towards a Sensual Politics: Nation, Race, and Sense Perception, Hilton Baltimore Peale B
CHAIR: Todd Carmody, University of California, Berkeley (CA)
PAPERS: Britt Rusert, Temple University (PA), Fugitive Senses: Race and Empiricism in the Early Republic
Erica Fretwell, Duke University (NC), Sensitive Citizenship, Passing, and Other Nervous Conditions
Patrick Jagoda, University of Chicago (IL), How Videogames Think
COMMENT: Nihad Farooq, Georgia Institute of Technology (GA)
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Folk, Pop, and Indie Rock: Race and Ethnicity in American Music, Hilton Baltimore Carroll B
CHAIR: Ulrich Adelt, University of Wyoming (WY)
PAPERS: Lorena Alvarado, University of California, Los Angeles (CA), Ambiguous Anthems: Narratives of the Immigrant Subject and Popular Music
Nicholas Francisco Centino, University of California, Santa Barbara (CA), Raza Rockabilly: Reclaimed Space, History, and Identity in Contemporary Los Angeles
Matthew Mace Barbee, Siena Heights University (MI), The Unseen Power of the Picket Fence: How Black Nationalism Created Indie Rock
Voicing a Riff: The Village Voice Music Section and Its Critical Legacy, Hilton Baltimore Johnson B
CHAIR: Eric Weisbard, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (AL)
PANELISTS: Joshua Clover, University of California, Davis (CA), Ann Powers, Independent Scholar, Greg Tate, Independent Scholar, Eric Weisbard, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (AL)
12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Nijah N. Cunningham, Columbia University (NY), Strident Light, Radiant Sound: Reparation and Redress in a Flyer for a Forsaken Life, Reparative Justice and the Failures of Government, Hilton Baltimore Brent
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Patricia Herrera, University of Richmond (VA), Sonic Memorials to Roberto Clemente, The Nuyorican Movement, Aesthetics, and Feminism, Hilton Baltimore Peale B
10:00 am – 11:45 am
Performative Black Christianity and the Logics of Religious Representation, Hilton Baltimore Holiday Ballroom 4
CHAIR: Daphne A. Brooks, Princeton University (NJ)
PAPERS: Ashon T. Crawley, Duke University (NC), Arthur, Crunch, and the Sound of Blackness in Baldwin’s Just Above My Head
Ronald Neal, Wake Forest University (NC), Spike Lee Can Go to Hell! Tyler Perry, Religion, and Southern Masculinity
Terrion L. Williamson, Michigan State University (MI), Juanita Bynum: Black Religiosity and the Making of a Good Christian Girl
COMMENT: Fred Moten, Duke University (NC)
Affective Histories, Critical Transformations: A Roundtable Discussion, Hilton Baltimore Latrobe
CHAIR: Jasbir K. Puar, Rutgers University, New Brunswick/Piscataway (NJ)
PANELISTS: Mel Y. Chen, University of California, Berkeley (CA), Dana Luciano, Georgetown University (DC), Robert McRuer, George Washington University (DC), Karen Tongson, University of Southern California (CA)
ASA Committee on Ethnic Studies I: Sounding Race, Hilton Baltimore Peale B
CHAIR: Herman S. Gray, University of California, Santa Cruz (CA)
PANELISTS: Deborah R. Vargas, University of California, Irvine (CA), Kirstie A. Dorr, University of California, San Diego (CA), Kevin Fellezs, Columbia University (NY), Dolores InÈs Casillas, University of California, Santa Barbara (CA), Herman S. Gray, University of California, Santa Cruz (CA)
12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Musical Migrations, Political Transformations: Reassembling Caribbean Musics in the Post-War United States, Hilton Baltimore Johnson B
CHAIR: Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University (NY)
PAPERS: Alexandra Vazquez, Princeton University (NJ), Listening in the Cold War Years
Nadia Ellis, University of California, Berkeley (CA), From a Broken Bottle, Traces: Haunt and the Poetics of Diasporic Repair
Shane Vogel, Indiana University–Bloomington (IN), Madam Zajj and U.S. Steel: Duke Ellington’s Calypso Theatre
COMMENT: Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University (NY)
Transforming Scholarly Research in the Digital Age (Sponsored by the Digital Humanities Caucus), Hilton Baltimore Key Ballroom 09
CHAIR: Wendy Chun, Brown University (RI)
PANELISTS: A. Joan Saab, University of Rochester (NY), Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, University of Pennsylvania (PA), Tara McPherson, University of Southern California (CA), Mark Williams, Dartmouth College (NH)
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm
The Musical Imaginary: Race, Class, and Authenticity, Hilton Baltimore Paca A
CHAIR: Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Main Campus (PA)
PAPERS: William Fulton, City University of New York, Graduate School (NY), Re-inventing Authenticity: Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills as Haight-Ashbury Counterculture Statement
Sonnet Retman, University of Washington, Seattle (WA), Muddy the Waters: Other Stories of Love and Theft in the Making of the Delta Blues
Elizabeth Yeager, University of Kansas (KS), “Find[ing] myself a city to live in”: Middle Class American Imagination and Phish Scene Identity
Jack Hamilton, Harvard University (MA), Being Good Isn’t Always Easy: Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Janis Joplin in the 1960s
COMMENT: Danielle Heard, University of California, Davis (CA)
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Daylanne English, Macalester College (MN), ArchAndroids and Their Antecedents: The Roots of Janelle Monae’s Afrofuturistic Post-human, Afrofuturism, Hilton Baltimore Peale A
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Marisol Negron, University of Massachusetts, Boston (MA), From Mambo to Hip Hop: (Re)Imagining ìNuyoricanî with HÈctor LaVoe and La Bruja, Imagining Latinidad and Citizenship in Popular Cultures, Hilton Baltimore Brent
8:00 am – 9:45 am
American Quarterly Theme Session I: Sound in American Studies, Hilton Baltimore Holiday Ballroom 5
CHAIR: Josh Kun, University of Southern California (CA)
PANELISTS: Kara Keeling, University of Southern California (CA), Asma Naeem, University of Maryland, College Park (MD), Dustin Tahmahkera, Southwestern University (TX), Roshanak Kheshti, University of California, San Diego (CA)
**Other scholars appearing in the issue are invited to attend and participate. Confirmed attendance as of this posting: Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, SUNY Binghamton (NY), Gayle Wald, George Washington University (DC)
Sounds of Response in the Age of Communicative Capitalism, Hilton Baltimore Key Ballroom 07
CHAIR: Travis Jackson, University of Chicago (IL)
PAPERS: Ruby Tapia, Ohio State University, Columbus (OH), Sonic Architectures of Memory: Digital Re-mixes and Structured Mournings at the Virtual WTC
Barry Shank, Ohio State University, Columbus (OH), Imagination and Transformation in Alarm Will Sound’s 1969
Shana Redmond, University of Southern California (CA), Manifold Music: On Markets and the Limits of Racial Exchange
COMMENT: Travis Jackson, University of Chicago (IL)
Automation or Imagination? Aesthetics and Politics in the History of Electrical Communication, Hilton Baltimore Holiday Ballroom 4
CHAIR: Patricia Ticineto Clough, City University of New York, Queens College (NY)
PAPERS: Mara Mills, New York University (NY), The Politics of Reading Machines, 1912–1971
Drew Daniel, Johns Hopkins University (MD), What Is a Digital Sound Object?
Tara Rodgers, University of Maryland, College Park (MD), The Liveliness of Synthesized Sound: From Helmholtz and Darwin to the Cybernetic Imagination
Orit Halpern, New School University (NY), The Autonomous Eye: Cybernetics, Perception, and Bio-politics
COMMENT: Patricia Ticineto Clough, City University of New York, Queens College (NY)
10:00 am – 11:45 am
Musical Lives and Imaginaries in B’More and the Chocolate City, Hilton Baltimore Carroll B
CHAIR: Lester Kenyatta Spence, Johns Hopkins University (MD)
PAPERS: Natalie Hopkinson, Independent Scholar, Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City
Al Shipley, Independent Scholar, Tough Breaks: The Story of Baltimore Club Music
Gavin Mueller, George Mason University (VA), The Ecology of Go-Go’s Informal Markets
COMMENT: Lester Kenyatta Spence, Johns Hopkins University (MD)
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm
ASA Women’s Committee: Digital Displays: Women Imagining Blogospheres as Alternative Public Spheres, Hilton Baltimore Holiday Ballroom 4
CHAIR: Nicole Hodges Persley, University of Kansas (KS)
PAPERS: Tanya Golash-Boza, University of Kansas (KS), How Academics Can Benefit from Blogging and How to Get Started
Judy Lubin, Howard University (DC), Reframing Shirley Sherrod: Black Women Bloggers and the Intersection of Race, Class and Gender
Jamie Schmidt Wagman, Saint Louis University (MO), A Woman’s Sphere: The Pill, The Net, and What’s Next
Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, State University of New York, Binghamton (NY), Sounding off about Sounding Out!: Emerging Scholars in an Emerging Field
COMMENT: Nicole Hodges Persley, University of Kansas (KS)
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Transforming Sound(s): A Reading and Discussion, Hilton Baltimore Tubman B
CHAIR: Jonathan Peter Moore, Duke University (NC)
PANELISTS: Mark McMorris, Georgetown University (DC), Nathaniel Mackey, Duke University (NC), Evie Shockley, Rutgers University, New Brunswick (NJ)
8:00 am – 9:45 am
Allison Perlman, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJ), Regulating the Color Line: Univision, Spanish Language Broadcasting, and Latino Speech Rights, Regulation, Citizenship, and Communication Technologies,Hilton Baltimore Armistead
10:00 am – 11:45 am
Jason William Loviglio, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (MD), Radio Free Baltimore: Neoliberal Transformation on the Local Public Airwaves, Behind The Wire, Hilton Baltimore Holiday Ballroom 6
Fran McDonald, Duke University (NC), Supreme Laughter: The Reparative Function of Laughter in the American Courtroom, Humor Studies Caucus: Humor as Reparation and Representation, Hilton Baltimore Key Ballroom 09
Lerone Martin, Eden Theological Seminary (MO), Play It Again!: The Phonograph and the Re-imagination, Reparation, and Transformation of Black Protestantism, 1925–1941, The Arts of African American Faith: Social Transformation and the Black Religious Imagination, Hilton Baltimore Peale B
12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Felicidad Bliss Cua Lim, University of California, Irvine (CA), Audible/Visible: Racialized Stardom and Language in Philippine Cinema, American Quarterly Theme Session III: Visuality and Race, Hilton Baltimore Holiday Ballroom 5
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Clare Corbould, Monash University, Australia, Performance and the Oral History of Slavery: The WPA Ex-Slave Narratives of the Interwar Years, Imagined Spaces and Reparative Performances: Constructing Public Memory in the Americas, Hilton Baltimore Johnson B
James Deutsch, Smithsonian Institution, Hark the Noisy Streets: The Nineteenth-Century Sounds of Baltimore, The City and Its Spaces, Hilton Baltimore Peale C
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Hishaam Aidi, Columbia University (NY), Hip Hop, Public Diplomacy and Indigenous Islam, Islamophobia: 10 Years after September 11, 2001, Hilton Baltimore Johnson A
8:00 am – 9:45 am
Business Meeting of the Science and Technology Caucus, Hilton Baltimore Chase
12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Business Meeting of the Digital Humanities Caucus, Hilton Baltimore Stone
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Business Meeting of the ASA Women’s Committee, Hilton Baltimore Chase
ASA Sound Studies Caucus Meeting, Pratt Street Ale House, 206. W. Pratt Street, Baltimore, 21201
10:00 am – 11:45 am
The Golden Years: Fifties TV and Radio, Hilton Baltimore Key Ballroom 07
CHAIR: Candace Moore, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MI)
PAPERS: Benjamin Min Han, New York University (NY), Cold War Talent: Ethnic Performers, Music, and Variety Shows in 50s America
Susan Murray, New York University (NY), Colortown: NBC’s Investment in Color, 1950–1959
Christina Abreu, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MI), From the Bronx to I Love Lucy: Lived and Televised Latinidad at the Tropicana Club in the 1950s
Patrick Roberts, National-Louis University (IL), Soul Machine: Agency and the Art of the Gimmick on Chicago R&B Radio, 1955–1963
COMMENT: Joel Dinerstein, Tulane University (LA)
Reparative Warhol, Hilton Baltimore Peale A
CHAIR: Eric Lott, University of Virginia (VA)
PAPERS: Jonathan Flatley, Wayne State University (MI), Liking and Likeness: Across the Color Line in Warhol
Homay King, Bryn Mawr College (PA), Moving On: Andy Warhol and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable
Gustavus Stadler, Haverford College in Pennsylvania (PA), Andy’s Wife: Fidelity and Faith in Warhol’s Aural Practices
COMMENT: Eric Lott, University of Virginia (VA)
10:00 am – 11:45 am
Albert Sergio Laguna, Columbia College (IL), Listening to Change: Radio, Humor, and the Future of Cuban Miami, Humor Studies Caucus: Ethnic Humor: Pleasures and Problems, Hilton Baltimore Key Ballroom 10
10:00 am – 11:45 am
Grace Wang, University of California, Davis (CA), Tiger Moms and Music Moms: On “Asian” Parenting; and Tamar Barzel, Wellesley College (MA), …pater le Punkeoisie—No Wave’s Queer and Jewish Interventions into Punk Rock’s Semiotic Terrain, Disciplining Gendered Bodies: The Strategic Performance of Ethnic Identity in Musical, Literary, and Visual Culture, Hilton Baltimore Peale C