The Center for Ethnomusicology presents a talk by:
Prof. Ryan Skinner
(Associate Professor, School of Music and Department of African and African-American Studies, The Ohio State University)
"Walking, Talking, Re-membering: An Afro-Swedish Critique of Being-in-the-world."
Tuesday, January 24, 2 017
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusicology)
Columbia University Morningside Campus (Broadway and 116th St.)
In this lecture, Ryan Skinner will examine the existential grounds and limits of an embodied and intersubjective being-in-the-world, in walking dialogue with the remembrances of Afro-Swedish subjects. To walk, wander, and roam in Sweden, particularly through the abundant green spaces that intrude upon and surround nearly every town and city, is a biopolitical act. It is a sign of personal vitality, healthfulness, and a kind of being-with others predicated on a regular, self-conscious, and often solitary being-toward nature. Yet, for many non-white Africa-descended Swedes, such an imagined community of salubrious and, for the most part, anonymous walkers is largely just that, a socially constructed fiction that perforce (which is to say "by force") excludes them; an abstraction of urban planning that encumbers their movements, creating anomalous spaces of stasis and immobility; a caesura in the biopolitical field that indexes their black lives as matter out of place, beyond both culture and nature. If the phenomenological axiom of being-in-the-world posits a dialogic and corporeal co-presence of mutually constitutive subjectivities, then the perambulatory culture of Afro-Swedes suggests a state of exception—a breach in the intersubjective field—one which Afro-Swedish subjects critically address through doubly conscious re-membering, recollecting the histories of violence that set them apart, and distinguish their struggle.
Ryan Skinner is Associate Professor of ethnomusicology in the School of Music and the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. Dr. Skinner’s research focuses on popular culture, ethics, cultural politics, public piety, intellectual property, and new social movements and modes of identification in Africa and its diasporas. He is the author of Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), and a children’s book, Sidikiba’s Kora Lesson (Beaver’s Pond Press, 2008). He is also an accomplished kora (21-stringed West African harp) player.