Written and Performed by Elizabeth Liang
Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey is a funny and poignant one-woman show about growing up as a dual citizen of mixed heritage in Central America, North Africa, the Middle East, and New England. Elizabeth Liang, like President Obama, is a Third Culture Kid or a TCK. Third Culture Kids are the children of international business people, global educators, diplomats, missionaries, and the military—anyone whose family has relocated overseas because of a job placement. Liang weaves humorous stories about growing up as an Alien Citizen abroad with American commercial jingles providing her soundtrack through language confusion, first love, culture shock, Clark Gable, and sandstorms…Our protagonist deals with the decisions every global nomad has to make repeatedly: to adapt or to simply cope; to build a bridge or to just tolerate. From being a Guatemalan-American teen in North Africa to attending a women's college in the USA, Alien Citizen reflects her experience that neither one was necessarily easier than the other. She realizes that girls across the world are growing into womanhood in environments that can be hostile to females (including the USA). How does a young girl cope as a border/culture/language/religion straddler in country after country that feels "other" to her when she is the "other?" Where is the line between respecting others and betraying yourself?
Elizabeth Liang is an actress and writer who is touring nationally with her humorous and poignant one-woman show, Alien Citizen: an earth odyssey. As a child of Guatemalan and American parents of Chinese-Spanish-Irish-French-German-English descent, she spent her childhood in Central America, North Africa, the Middle East and Connecticut. Her show weaves humorous stories about growing up as an Alien Citizen in all the countries she lived in and what is what like coping as a border/culture/langauage/religion straddler in country after country.
Sponsored by MIT Anthropology, Foreign Languages & Literatures, Women's and Gender Studieswith funding from the DeFlorez Fund.
Free and open to the public.
Date: Friday February 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM Reception, 7:00 PM performance
A two-day series of events including live music (2/26) and panel discussions (2/26 & 2/27) organized by MIT/Harvard Cool Japan
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Music Culture and Transformation (Part 1)
3:00-5:00 PM - MIT Room E25-111
Artist Talk + Panel on Fukushima Activism, Postwar Pop, Intermedia Art and Global Hip-Hop
Conversation with Zeebra (Japanese hip-hop emcee) and Ian Condry, followed by presentations:
- Zeebra (Japanese hip-hop emcee) Zeebra began his hip hop career in 1993, joining the rap group King Giddra. Zeebra and King Giddra played an important role in the development of the Japanese hip hop scene. In the mid 1990s, they began addressing social issues, particularly the economic recession and unemployment. By 1997 Zeebra left King Gridda to start a solo career. He released the single "Mr. Dynamite" in 1999, which became the first hip-hop single to make it into the top 50 on the Japanese pop charts. Through his early and newer work, Zeebra has becoame one of the most influential Japanese hip hop artists.
- Marie Abe (BU) - "Sounding Against Nuclear Power in Post-Fukushima Japan" Since the devastating M9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent crises at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, anti-nuclear power demonstrations have taken the streets of Tokyo and many other cities throughout Japan on an unprecedented level since the 1960s. Often leading the protests in Tokyo is the raucous sound of chindon-ya: Japanese musical advertisement practice. When the public display of merriment was discouraged in the name of national mourning, how did this erstwhile commercial practice become a sonic marker of the mass social movement against the government's energy policies and its much-criticized reactions to the disasters? This paper explores how the particular sounds of chindon-ya transposed from the commercial to the political, paying attention to the affective principles that inform chindon-ya performance in the time characterized by what Anne Allison calls the precarity of economic and social life in contemporary Japan.
- Miki Kaneda (Harvard) - "Sonic Encounters Between Art and the Everyday in 1960s Japan" Everyday sounds, spaces, and technologies drew many experimental musicians and artists in 1960s Japan as objects of artistic investigation. On the surface, the resulting performances and recordings appear to be absurd, or utterly nonsensical. However, by asking what it took to register the everyday in 1960s Japan, I argue that the "everyday" was hardly a neutral site. Rather, forays into the everyday were interventions—not just extensions—of ways of sensing and making sense of the rapidly changing material and social conditions during a volatile decade in postwar Japan.
- Hiromu Nagahara (MIT) - "The Politics of Pop Music Before J-Pop" The history of Japan's pop music industry can be traced as far back as the 1920s, when companies like Columbia and Victor came into Japan. From the outset, the songs they produced not only attracted avid fans but also drew strong, even violent, critiques for a wide range of contemporary observers. Why did these songs disturb so many people? This talk will point to several several songs from the prewar and the postwar era by way of highlighting key themes in the politics of pop music in twentieth Japan.
- Murray Forman (NEU) - "Move the Planet: Post-National Hip-Hop Diaspora" During the 1990s and early 2000s the term "hip-hop nation" acquired a certain resonance among young hip-hop aficionados. Yet even as the term was being cemented within a standard terminology, hip-hop was expanding at a staggering rate, acquiring global significance and distinct regional inflections. Today, the notion of a hip-hop nationseems prosaic and flawed, incapable of capturing the diversity of hip-hop expression on a global scale. In my discussion, I will critically reassess the concept of the hip-hop nation while exploring the ways in which trans-local flows of creativity, technological interaction, and human mobility provide the foundation for a cohesive, yet post-national hip-hop culture.
Marié Abe is an Assistant Professor of Music in the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Boston University. She holds an MA and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently a fellow at the Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College. She is currently working on a book manuscript on chindon-ya, a live musical advertisement practice in Japan.
Bio (2-3 sentences) Miki Kaneda is Lecturer in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. She received her PhD in Music with a Designated Emphasis in New Media from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. Her forthcoming work, tentatively titled "The Unexpected Collectives: Intermedia Art in Postwar Japan," is an ethnographic and historical study of experimental musical and artistic practices in 1960s Japan. Between 2012 and 2013, she was founding co-editor of post.at.moma.org, MoMA's web platform for research and dialogue on modern and contemporary art across geographies.
Hiromu Nagahara is an Assistant Professor of History at MIT. He studies the history of modern Japan. His research interests include the history of media, popular culture, and censorship in the twentieth century. His forthcoming book sheds light on the society-wide controversies that were provoked by popular songs produced by Japan's music industry between the late 1920s and 1960s."
Murray Forman is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northeaster University. He is the author of The 'Hood Comes First: Race, Space and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) and Co-editor (with Mark Anthony Neal) of That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge, 1st edition 2004; 2nd edition, 2011). His most recent book is One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Popular Music on Early Television (Duke University Press, 2012).
8:00 PM - Middlesex Lounge (315 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA)
- 8:00 PM - WTF (Wallys Tuesday Funk, local funk jazz band)
- 9:00 PM - Miss Monday (hip-hop emcee and reggae legend from Tokyo)
- 10:00 PM - Guest DJ set by Zeebra (Tokyo-based emcee and international recording artist)
- 11:00 PM - 1:00 AM - international dance party with DJ Ian C. and more . . .
Thursday, February 27, 2014MIT Cool Japan / CMS Colloquium / Music, Culture and Transformation (Part 2)
5:00-7:00 PM, MIT Room E14-633
- Meredith Schweig (MIT) - "Gender in Taiwanese Rap Music: Hope for the Future?" In this presentation, Meredith Schweig explores the gender politics and practices of the Taiwan rap scene. Drawing on long-term fieldwork with the island's hip-hop community and invoking emergent scholarly discourses on East Asian and global masculinities, she argues that rap's identity as men's music renders it a productive site for exploring, unsettling, and transforming prevailing models of Taiwanese manhood. In the context of shifting gender roles driven by dramatic social, political, and economic change over the course of the last three decades in Taiwan, Schweig considers how rap has created new spaces for male sociality, avenues for male self-empowerment, and opportunities for the articulation of multiple masculine identities not otherwise audible in the island's popular music.
- Rebecca Dirksen (MIT) - "A Musical Model for Development? Haiti's Mizik Angaje Re-Imagined" In Haiti from the colonial period to the present, music has been a critical means for public dialogue when other avenues have not been possible. Mizik angaje, literally, "engaged music," a genre-crossing expressive form featuring pointed lyrical commentary on political and social issues, has accompanied key moments in Haitian history, from the Haitian Revolution to the downfall of the Duvalier regime and subsequent rise of Aristide to power. Increasingly in recent years, mizik angaje has been re-imagined to reflect current realities: any understanding of this musical phenomenon must now go beyond examining how ordinary Haitian citizens use musical dialogue to critique infrastructural weaknesses and abuses of authority to demonstrating how a growing number of social groups employ music as an explicit and fundamental tool for strengthening their local communities. Independent of state or NGO support, these groups are tackling non-musical neighborhood concerns by promoting social programs that simultaneously entertain music-making and community service. This leads us to ask, what happens when Haitian musicians implicate themselves in the processes of development?
- Moderated by Ian Condry (MIT)
Meredith Schweig is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT. Her research explores twentieth- and twenty-first-century music of East Asia, with a particular emphasis on popular song, narrativity, and cultural politics in Taiwan and China. She has received fellowships and grants from the Asian Cultural Council, Whiting Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, and the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University.
Rebecca Dirksen, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, completed her PhD in ethnomusicology at UCLA in 2012. Her primary research concerns music and grassroots development in Haiti before and after the 2010 earthquake. Concurrent projects revolve around creative responses to crisis and disaster, intangible cultural heritage protection, cultural policy, and Haitian classical music.
Public reception with the panelists, light food and drink
7:00-8:00 PM, CMS headquarters
Literary Reading by Jacques Fux from his novel Antiterapias (in Portuguese, with English translation read by Ernest Hartwell)
Fux was born in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He received degrees in mathematics and computer science, and later earned to Doctorates, one in Comparative Literatures from UFMG and another in French Language, Literature and Civilization from Université Lille. He had previously published Literatura e Matemática: Jorge Luis Borges, Georges Perec e o OULIPO (2001).
Conscious of Portnoy's Complaint and Georges Perec's constraints, the author uses short sentences to awaken the reader to images, sensations, and questions. Testimony, memory, masturbation, fiction, history, Cabala, Bible, and literature enclose and permeate the biography of a young Jewish man in his search for a place in the contemporary Brazilian ghettos which followed the diaspora. From an international perspective, Antiterapias shows what is both exotic and common about a small Brazilian Jewish community in the twenty-first century.
Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Co-Sponsored by MIT-Brazil and Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Date: Thursday February 27, 2014
Time: 5:00 PM
Maurice Samuels (Yale)
This talk examines one of the most stunning cases of Jewish integration in the "golden age" following emancipation: Rachel Félix, who became France's most celebrated actress in the 1830s and '40s with her electrifying performances as the heroines of Racine and Corneille at the Comédie Française. The daughter of poor, Yiddish-speaking peddlers, Rachel single-handedly revived the neoclassical theatrical tradition while at the same time maintaining—some would say flaunting—her Jewish identity. Reading the critical response to Rachel from the time, Samuels explores how she offered a model for the way French universalism, embodied in the neo-classical tradition, could be enabled rather than hindered by Jewishness.
Maurice Samuels specializes in the literature and culture of nineteenthcentury France and in Jewish Studies. He is the author of The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century France and Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France. He also co-edited Nineteenth-Century Jewish Literature: A Reader, which includes his original translations of nineteenth-century French Jewish fiction. Professor Samuels has published articles on diverse topics, including romanticism and realism, aesthetic theory, representations of the Crimean War, and boulevard culture. He is currently working on a new book on the relationship of antisemitism and philosemitism in France from the French Revolution to the present.
Date: Monday March 3, 2014
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Mary Lewis (Harvard)
Mary Lewis is Professor of History at Harvard University. She specializes in Modern French and European social, legal, and political history. Her current research interests center around international and imperial history, the history of rights, and the connections between international relationas and everyday local life. She will talk about her recent book, published in 2013 by the University of California Press.
Date: Tuesday April 15, 2014
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Didier Eribon (University of Amiens, France) & Michael Lucey (UC Berkeley)
Description to follow.
Date: Monday April 28, 2014
Time: 5:00-7:00 PM
Professor Wen Tiejun (Executive Dean, Institute of Advanced Studies for Sustainability; Dean, School of Agronomics & Rural Development; Director, Institute of Rural Finance Director, Centre of Rural Reconstruction at Renmin University of China, People's Republic of China)
Professor Wen Tiejun is a renowned expert on social-economic sustainable development and rural issues, especially in policy studies on current affairs, macro-economic & geo-strategy of south-south cooperatives, inclusive growth. He is a recipient of State Council's Award for Outstanding Contribution, 1998, CCTV Annual Award to Top 10 Economic Talent, 2003 and the Beijing Municipal Government Award of Outstanding Study Outcome in 2010
Sponsored by MIT Chinese Students and Scholars Association (MIT-CSSA). Co-Sponsored by Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Date: Wednesday March 5, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Come practice your Portuguese speaking skills in a relaxing setting. Improve your pronunciation, build up your vocabulary and enjoy one hour of fun learning about the Lusophone cultures.
Brazilian lunch will be served.
Co-Sponsored by the Portuguese section of Foreign Languages and Literatures and MIT-Brazil.
Time: 1:15-2:15 PM