University of Southern California
The Aural Border
May 28, 2015, 3:30 PM
Room 1439, Schoenberg Music Building
In this talk, Professor Kun develops a theoretical framework for a re-thinking of the US-Mexico border as a space of sound and music. While contemporary discussions about the border tend to rely on visual vocabularies, Kun will explore the importance of sound and music to how the border has functioned historically and how it is experienced in current debates around immigration, drug trafficking, and border enforcement and security. He will focus specifically on the musical and sonic geographies of the greater Tijuana-San Diego borderlands with some attention to their connections to the music cultures of 20th-century Los Angeles. The talk will focus on music and sound art across various historical periods, but will also work through various examples from global contemporary art, Mexican border literature, and Mexican border scholarship and theory.
Josh Kun is Associate Professor in the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and USC’s Department of American Studies & Ethnicity. He is the author and an editor of several volumes, including Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, And You Shall Know Us By The Trail of Our Vinyl, Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border, and Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies. His two most recent books, Songs in the Key of Los Angeles and To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of the Modern City are both based on the special collections of the Los Angeles Public Library. He is also co-editor of the Refiguring American Music book series for Duke University Press and his music exhibitions and installations have appeared at the Grammy Museum, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Autry National Center, and others. He is currently finishing The Ballad of Tijuana: Music and the US-Mexico Border for UC Press, from which this talk is drawn.