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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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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Welcome to the Global Media Cultures podcast!

In this short episode, I recount the origins of the series and explain what I hope listeners take away from these conversations over the next three months.

This is a public humanities project in that it aims to connect scholars of global media studies, particularly those early in their careers, to an audience beyond the academy. The podcast series is intended as a teaching resource for those in higher education and as an introduction to these topics for anyone interested in how media shapes our understanding of the world.

Episode Transcript (opens as PDF)

Show Notes

00:50 The article on luxury movie theaters in India: “A Global Cinematic Experience: Cinépolis, Film Exhibition, and Luxury Branding”

00:53 The article on digital technologies used at airports: “The Datalogical Drug Mule”

00:57 The article on Netflix original series in Mexico: Luis Miguel: La serie, Class-Based Collective Memory, and Streaming Television in Mexico”