Refugee Selfies and the Media of Migration (with Eszter Zimanyi)

In this week’s episode, guest Eszter Zimanyi discusses her article “Digital Transience: Emplacement and Authorship in Refugee Selfies” which analyzes “refugee selfies” collected from Instagram’s Explore Places map feature as an alternative viewpoint on the so-called 2015 European refugee crisis. Zimanyi argues that that refugee selfies are best conceived as a form of digital transience that provide the refugee with a sense of emplacement in a particular location along with an archive of their movement across locations. At the same time, these digital posts also prompt a disruptive affective charge that forces other viewers of the image to contend with the precarity of the refugee’s existence in any location.

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Liberation and Contagion in the Music of MIA (with Ronak Kapadia)

In this week’s episode, guest Ronak Kapadia discusses his article “Sonic Contagions: Bird Flu, Bandung, and the Queer Cartographies of MIA” which analyzes the work of Sri Lankan diasporic musician, producer, and designer Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam (a.k.a. MIA). MIA’s music offers an opportunity to explore the unlikely intimacies between the diverse histories and political agendas of social movements and radical uprisings across the globe. Kapadia argues that prioritizing the sonic realm in MIA’s work makes available alternative utopian possibilities, offering other ways of hearing and conceptualizing queer collectivity, belonging, and pleasure in the midst of the devastation wrought by security panics and constant warfare.

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The Enduring Sentimiento of Chavela Vargas (with Lorena Alvarado)

In this week’s episode, guest Lorena Alvarado discusses her article “Never Late: Unwelcome Desires and Diasporas in Chavela Vargas’ Last Works” which analyzes how the last two albums of musical performer Chavela Vargas, Cupaima (2006) and ¡Por mi Culpa! (2010), continue making aesthetic choices that de-form the classic repertoire of rancheras and boleros. These musical works represent a “late style” formulated by an older subject that refuses to retire quietly and with docility. Alvarado argues that the mix of beloved, familiar lyrics and melodies with sonic details that evoke the experiences of migrants and Indigenous communities result in an unexpected, repellent musicality that speaks to the contemporary struggles of those unwelcome, despised, and outside neo-liberal chronology.

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Translating Television in Latin America (with Laurena Bernabo)

In this week’s episode, guest Laurena Bernabo discusses her article “Progressive Television, Translation, and Globalization: The Case of Glee in Latin America” which analyzes the behind-the-scenes production process to dub the TV show Glee into Spanish for Latin American audiences. Bernabo demonstrates how managerial choices, talent availability, and narrative particularities shape the creative decisions for a show’s dubbing. In the specific case of Glee, these creative decisions significantly impact the translation of the show’s attempts at representing various identities, such as gender, race, and sexuality. Bernabo argues for the importance of studying production processes and translated texts together to account for how ideologically rich representations circulate across linguistic and national contexts.

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Anime against Neoliberalism in Chile (with Camilo Diaz Pino)

In this week’s episode, guest Camilo Diaz Pino discusses his article “Weaponizing collective energy: Dragon Ball Z in the anti-neoliberal Chilean protest movement” which analyzes how the 2011 student-led protests in Chile borrowed icons from the popular anime show to foster a sense of collective struggle. The mobilization of the “genki dama” captured the need for solidarity among various protest groups as they fought the continued privatization of public services in the country. Diaz Pino argues that this case study illustrates the powerful influence of Japanese media in Latin America and the need to study transnational media flows that do not intersect with Anglo-American perspectives.

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The Sounds of Politics in South Asia (with Aswin Punathambekar and Sriram Mohan)

In this week’s episode, guests Aswin Punathambekar and Sriram Mohan discuss their article “A Sound Bridge: Listening for the Political in a Digital Age” which analyzes how catchy sounds become sonic cues for political participation. In their analysis of the popular refrain “Why This Kolaveri” (“Why This Murderous Rage”), the authors demonstrate how a sound’s availability, performativity, and resonance enable it to be picked up by a variety of journalists, politicians, and citizens engaged in popular protest movements. Punathambekar and Mohan argue that understanding politics in the digital age requires attending more closely to sonic modes of participation.

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