Session/Séance 2b: CSTM Panel 2 Thursday/jeudi 25 May 2017. 2:00 – 3:00 pm, EJB 130.
Perspectives on Queer Interventions and the Erotic in Musical Ethnography
Chair: ELLEN WATERMAN (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
1. Straight to the Heart: Heteronormativity, Flirtation, and Ethnography
Kathryn Alexander, Macalester College
I propose an autoethnographic field account and methodological toolkit for queer researchers of straight worlds. In unpacking the heteronormative fieldsites of my work on Cape Breton Island, I delineate heteronormativities that shore up the methodologies, ethnographies, and pedagogies of ethnomusicology. I mark the unmarked masculinities and privileges of ethnomusicology’s founding fathers, which shape our methods in the field. How we teach researchers to perform and construct their fieldwork must include discussions of privilege, positionality, and bias based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexuality at home and out in the field. Fieldwork cannot be normalized; it is always under negotiation. My queerness enabling me to offer an ethnographic and critical analysis of community social dancing on Cape Breton that was previously absent in the scholarship.
2. Lip-Synch for Your Life: Embodiment and Technology in Drag and Mainstream Pop Performance
Anthony Lomax, York University
While complex choreography, exhausting tour schedules and a demand for consistent record-quality live perfor- mances make lip-synching seem like a necessity for modern pop performers, artists from Freddy Mercury to Mariah Carey have been harshly criticized when caught in the act. Conversely, drag queens in the queer community are celebrated for their ability to effectively lip-synch to recordings of these same performers. This queer embodiment of pop vocalists is a type of activism through recontextualization. Recently, more and more drag queens are also releasing new music with the aid of technology like pitch correction software. This paper examines the effect of technology on both mainstream pop and drag performances. As technological interventions in both live and recorded pop music increase, the line between drag performer and mainstream pop artist becomes increasingly ambiguous.