Presentation Title

Beyond Bob Dylan: A Critical Discussion of American Protest Music and its Redefinitions

Presenter Information

Sabina Hills-VillalobosFollow

Faculty Mentor

Martha Gonzalez, Joti Rockwell

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

Location

189

Session

poster 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Protest music is and has been music that seeks to defy and redefine cultural and political norms. Among the issues up for redefinition include law enforcement, prejudice along racial and gender lines, and workers organizing rights. Through this defiance and redefinition, protest music seeks to give voice to the many excluded people in society and provides a new perspective of what the world could be: a perspective that includes those previously excluded people. But our understanding of what protest music is remains race neutral or colorblind. This project begins with an inquiry into how the race neutral approaches to understanding folk music produced in the 60s and 70s obscures our understanding of protest in music by Childish Gambino, Joel Thomson, and Ana Tijoux. This project proposes analyzing critically the aesthetic entanglements in American protest music from the 60s and 70s as well as in these contemporary artists as a background to understanding why some protest musicians today might be excluded from the category of American protest music. The colorblind conceptions of American protest music from the 60s and 70s obscures the power and centrality that whiteness plays in the structure, the history, legitimacy, and the presence of the musicians in the literature. Central to the music of the 60s and 70s is the archetype of the white, male, acoustic guitar playing protest musician, the archetype which I will term “the figure of American protest music”. Through careful comparative analysis of the sounds, lyrics, cinematography, costuming, and reception of the music and videos of contemporary American protest musicians, I locate traces of this figure and begin to understand how newer American protest musicians continue to redefine protest music in a time where they do not fit the academic conception of what it means to sing in protest.

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Nov 23rd, 8:00 AM Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM

Beyond Bob Dylan: A Critical Discussion of American Protest Music and its Redefinitions

189

Protest music is and has been music that seeks to defy and redefine cultural and political norms. Among the issues up for redefinition include law enforcement, prejudice along racial and gender lines, and workers organizing rights. Through this defiance and redefinition, protest music seeks to give voice to the many excluded people in society and provides a new perspective of what the world could be: a perspective that includes those previously excluded people. But our understanding of what protest music is remains race neutral or colorblind. This project begins with an inquiry into how the race neutral approaches to understanding folk music produced in the 60s and 70s obscures our understanding of protest in music by Childish Gambino, Joel Thomson, and Ana Tijoux. This project proposes analyzing critically the aesthetic entanglements in American protest music from the 60s and 70s as well as in these contemporary artists as a background to understanding why some protest musicians today might be excluded from the category of American protest music. The colorblind conceptions of American protest music from the 60s and 70s obscures the power and centrality that whiteness plays in the structure, the history, legitimacy, and the presence of the musicians in the literature. Central to the music of the 60s and 70s is the archetype of the white, male, acoustic guitar playing protest musician, the archetype which I will term “the figure of American protest music”. Through careful comparative analysis of the sounds, lyrics, cinematography, costuming, and reception of the music and videos of contemporary American protest musicians, I locate traces of this figure and begin to understand how newer American protest musicians continue to redefine protest music in a time where they do not fit the academic conception of what it means to sing in protest.