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Prof. John Troutman: "Steel Bars and Hawaiian Guitars" - Friday Nov. 4, 2016, 4PM

Event Start: 
Friday, November 4, 2016 - 4:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)

The Center for Ethnomusicology is please to present a colloquium presentation by:

Prof. John W. Troutman

(History and Geography, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, author of Indian Blues and the new Kika Kila)

speaking on:
"Steel Bars and Hawaiian Guitars: (Re)Centering Indigenous Technology and Musical Practice within the Origins of the Modern Music Industry."

Friday November 4, 2016
4:00PM to 6:00PM 
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusicology)
Reception to follow talk

Free and open to the public!

The Hawaiian steel guitar profoundly altered the early twentieth-century sounds of the modern music industry. However, few scholars have acknowledged the instrument's role in shaping the soundtrack of modernity, let alone its indigenous origins.  In this talk, John Troutman will draw from his new book, Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music, in order to contemplate the efforts of Hawaiians to develop a new instrument within the context of intense colonial upheaval, and their impact along regional theater circuits and on New York City stages in the years that followed.

Interested members of the public are also invited to attend Prof. Fox's class "Music in Contemporary Native America" on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, from 6-7:30pm, to hear Prof. Troutman discuss his important first book, Indian Blues. Please defer to students in the class during discussion if you attend. 

John Troutman is Associate Professor of History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He received his doctorate in history from the University of Texas at Austin and his master’s degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. He has received multiple fellowships and grants from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His research agenda focuses on the historical significance of music in American life, particularly in the lives of indigenous peoples. His first book, Indian Blues: American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1879-1934, was favorably reviewed in journals that span the disciplines of American Studies, History, Musicology, Anthropology, Folklore, and American Indian Studies; among other accolades it won the Western History Association’s biennial W. Turrentine Jackson Award for a "first book on any aspect of the American West.” In May of this year, the University of North Carolina Press published his second monograph, Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music. The book chronicles the history of the Hawaiian steel guitar, from the cultural and political context that produced it in the Islands in the 1880s, to its role in shaping the sounds of modern music in North America and throughout the world.


Colloquium: "Kika Kila: Hawaiian Guitars and Steel Bars in the Era of the Overthrow" - John W. Troutman

Event Start: 
Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
701C Dodge Hall, Center for Ethnomusicology

The Center for Ethnomusicology Spring Colloquium Series Presents:

Kika Kila: Hawaiian Guitars and Steel Bars in the Era of the Overthrow
a talk by John W. Troutman
(Assistant Prof. of U.S., Cultural, Public,&American Indian History,  Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette)
Thursday, February 2, 2012
12:00 – 2:00 pm
Center for Ethnomusicology
Dodge Hall 701 C

Free and open to the public.

Soon after the illegal overthrow of Queen Lili'oukalani's government and U.S. annexation of Hawaii in 1898, Joe Kekuku and other Native Hawaiian guitarists embarked upon a series of transcontinental journeys that continue to ripple and resonate. This presentation will explore the origins of the Hawaiian (steel) guitar and situate its development within both the proliferation of a rich guitar culture in the islands, and within the accompanying political turmoil that led to and followed the overthrow of Ka?naka Maoli rule in the Hawaiian islands.

John W. Troutman is Assistant Profesor of History, University of Louisiana, Lafayette. He received his master’s degree in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, and his doctorate in history from the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests include multiple facets of American Indian history as well as studies of race, culture, and music in the United States in the twentieth century. Before his appointment as assistant professor at UL Lafayette, he was the 2006-2007 Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Americas in Middletown, Connecticut. Prior to that, he served as Assistant Director of the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History in Chicago. His first book, Indian Blues: American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1890-1934, was published in the spring of 2009 by the University of Oklahoma Press. He has published articles and book reviews in numerous journals, including Ethnohistory, Western Historical Quarterly, Louisiana History Journal and Museum Anthropology, and his essays are featured in a number of edited volumes and other works.

Event Contact: 
Center for Ethnomusicology Director (
Event Sponsors: 
The Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University
Free and open to the public
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