As part of the Oregon Humanities Center Work in Progress Colloquium Series, Dr. Carol Silverman of the Department of Anthropology and Folklore Program will present finding from her recent research, “Global Gypsy: Appropriation, Hybridity and Race.”
The hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” gets praise for its focus on diversity and inclusion, but UO musicologist Loren Kajikawa cautions fans to hold their applause — at least some of it.
Kajikawa credits the musical with drawing attention to racism by retelling the story of the nation’s founders through marginalized groups, but he argues that its narrative overlooks an economic inequality that continues to limit many Americans. Kajikawa will address this discrepancy in his upcoming Quack Chats pub talk, “Listening to Hamilton in the Age of Trump,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, in the Erb Memorial Union’s Falling Sky Pizzeria.
“‘Hamilton’ takes brilliant aim at our racist past, but it mostly gives a free pass to the dark economic forces that have bound race and capitalism from the colonial period onward,” said Kajikawa, who specializes in hip-hop and rap music and matters of racial representation.
“Hamilton” incorporates many components of Kajikawa’s academic expertise as it tells the story of Alexander Hamilton with a diverse cast and a hip-hop-based score.
“Its focus on racial diversity without concern for economic justice reflects current tensions in politics and in popular culture,” he said.
Kajikawa appreciates “Hamilton” for advocating for racial justice, but he points to the show’s portrayal of its title character as a clear example of the disconnect between racial and economic issues. He argues that the show heralds Hamilton as a champion of the people, without addressing the first U.S. secretary of the treasury’s role as the chief architect of Wall Street, which helped fund the expansion of slavery and enabled many of the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent to rise to affluence.
Kajikawa will also dive into the show’s integration of hip-hop and how it and the hip-hop culture plays out in the show.
“The show’s creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, borrowed a story from hip-hop — of struggle and perseverance and overcoming odds — and found the ways those elements are mirrored in the story of one of our Founding Fathers,” Kajikawa explained.
Kajikawa jokes that as someone who specializes in both hip-hop music and race, he had very little choice but to add his voice to those providing commentary on “Hamilton.” But when he started listening to the show’s music, he found himself an unexpected “super fan.” His entire family soon adopted his enthusiasm for the score, which he said is a rarity with his household’s musical preferences.
The event is open to the public, and participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage in a conversation with the researcher during the presentation. The talk is part of a series of events that fall under the umbrella of Quack Chats, a public outreach initiative led by University Communications.
Media historian, folklorist, and artist Kristen Gallerneaux will present her illustrated lecture Sonic Spectres at UO’s Lawrence Hall Room 166 on Tuesday, March 7 at 6:30 pm. Uniting esoteric histories, acoustics, and place, she will share a decade of accumulated historic and artistic research including artifacts found in her collections as a museum curator, fieldwork from “charges landscapes,” trace elements of the material and audible history of paranormal culture, and objects that shouldn’t exist.
Kristen Gallerneaux is the Curator of Communication and Information Technology at the Henry Ford Museum, where she continues to build upon one of the largest historic technology collections in North America.
This lecture is free and open to the public.
Please join the UO Folklore Program’s Dr. Gantt Gurley in celebration of the publication of his new book “Meïr Aaron Goldschmidt and the Poetics of Jewish Fiction.” The celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22, 3-5 pm, in the Graduate School Lounge in Susan Campbell Hall on the UO campus.
Gantt Gurley received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. Before coming to Oregon he lectured at the University of California’s Scandinavian Department and was a Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. His forthcoming book Meïr Aaron Goldschmidt and the Poetics of Prose examines one of Denmark’s greatest nationalistic writers as first and foremost a Jewish artist, exploring his relationship to the Hebrew Bible and later Rabbinical traditions such as the Talmud and the Midrash as a form of poetics. He is currently working on a joint project that is mapping the sudden appearance of Rabbinic tales in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century vernaculars in Northern Europe. A central aim of the project is to illuminate the mechanisms whereby Hebraic thought is reawakened in the European consciousness. His research and teaching interests include ancient and medieval song culture, the birth of the novel, the Wandering Jew, Long Romanticism, Old Norse literature, the lyrical mode, Hans Christian Andersen, and notions of religiosity in the Danish Golden Age.
UO anthropologist and folklorist Carol Silverman has studied and written about Roma people and the prejudices against them for nearly four decades and has won numerous fellowships and awards for her contributions to the field. Inspired by their rich culture, she quickly developed a parallel interest in their everyday lives and the prejudice and fear they face around the globe.
See her featured in this article from AroundtheO: