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Public Dissonance: A Lecture Series on Gender and Sexuality in Music

A three-part visiting scholar colloquy for 2013-14 hosted by the Music Department.

The series will bring three music scholars to Davidson who specialize in gender and sexuality studies. In their talks, they will consider the discursive function of music in the public sphere and examine the shaping of genres by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) culture; furthermore, each will examine musical conventions as cultural forms defined by music-making and the role of musicians in protesting and, with fascinating creativity, manipulating a mainstream that had often rendered them silent.

Tuesday, March 18, 8 p.m., Tyler Tallman Hall

Stephan Pennington, Assistant Professor of Music at Tufts University

Professor Pennington will revisit the controversial history around sound engineer Sandy Stone whose expertise was foundational to the sound of the "women's music" genre that grew out of lesbian-feminist collective Olivia Records and woman-centered music festivals.  Policies enacted by these organizations began to push out transwomen like Stone from collective performing spaces; Pennington will consider the political ramifications of this exclusion.

Part 1 (Oct. 24, 2013)

Alice Echols, Barbra Streisand Professor of Contemporary Gender Studies, Chair of Gender Studies, and Director of the Center for Feminist Research (University of Southern California)

Professor Echols discussed how disco's explosive rise to the mainstream created powerful "counter publics" in the political discourse of the 1970s and produced a sonic palate that directly critiqued claims of musical authenticity in the rock movement.

Part 2 (Jan. 21, 2014)

Mitchell Morris, Associate Professor of Musicology at UCLA (Valentine Visiting Professor of Music at Amherst, present)

Professor Morris spoke on New York Times music critic, novelist, and photographer Carl Van Vechten, a prominent figure in the gay subculture, and his role in promoting queer musicians of the Harlem Renaissance through his underground network of salons.