Dissertation Update

01.30.11 | Comment?

For new readers, I’m writing a dissertation on Detroit electronic music (techno, house, electro, ETC) in the department of folklore and ethnomusicology at Indiana University. I conducted fieldwork in Detroit from 2008-2010, although I’m still sneaking in a few interviews! I just completed chapter 3.

Here’s a segment from my introductory chapter:

“This study addresses Detroit’s expansive, complex, and diverse history with electronic music. Typically, Motown and techno are recognized as the only cultural legacies Detroit has to offer. However, a closer look at Detroit reveals much more than a simple, linear history. Detroit has a lengthy history with electronic music, primarily techno, house, and electro. Techno possesses a well established and relatively well documented, albeit linear and limited history in Detroit with significant links to African American culture. My research dramatically expands this history, recognizing and negotiating the existence of multiple histories and experiences beginning with Motown’s final year in Detroit and continuing to the present. I contribute a greater complexity to the scholarly treatment of electronic dance music with detailed exploration of other related styles of electronic music that are equally relevant and influential both in Detroit, and globally. The principle concepts that shape the foundation of my analysis are identity diversity and sonic eclecticism. Electronic music scenes in Detroit are surprisingly diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, class, and educational background. This diversity has had profound historic and contemporary impacts on electronic music produced in Detroit and performed in Detroit. Diversity can also be heard in Detroit’s electronic music history. I use the term sonic eclecticism to refer to audible diversity. These concepts of diversity and eclecticism converge in musical performance and production in Detroit; in my examination of this convergence, I engage elements of performance theory and communication analysis.”

I have done a few interviews since I last updated you with this post on my old blog: http://denisedjsdetroit.blogspot.com/2010/03/im-donewith-that.html

Here’s who I’ve learned from over the past year:

Malik Alston

Juan Atkins

Michael Huckaby

Gehrik Mohr

Drew Pompa

Patrick Russell

Jared Wilson

And, momentarily, Aaron Cumins of Gary Springs Hunting Club and Aaron Siegel of Fit Sound.

I’ll keep you informed of stuff.

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