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Saturday, May 20 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Possibility / Protest in African American Roots Music

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Is Resistance Futile? This presentation asks the question: Can music be an effective means of protest? Using examples from blues and gospel, participants explore the ways that music can–and cannot–resist oppressive systems. The discussion will raise several examples in order to argue that while music is generally ineffective at spurring certain kinds of political change, it is highly effective—necessary, even—as a method for proposing the possibility of a better world.

Drawing on an idea formulated by scholar Ashon Crawley that he calls the aesthetics of possibility: “We act, through the aesthetics of possibility, as if we already are what we want to be, as if we already have what we want to give away, as if liberation is already with us, as if resources were already equitably distributed. In such desiring, in such aspiration, is the enactment of the otherwise world.” Blues and gospel help bring us into the space of the aesthetics of possibility, and thereby allow us to glimpse a better world, and enlarge the very idea of resistance.

Program Themes
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WE are the agents of change in this world. We are the artists, activists, and innovators who can raise consciousness and organize resistance to redesign our future. The forward movement of science and society doesn’t have to mean dystopia—it could mean more advanced problem-solving... Read More →

avatar for Dr. Will Boone

Dr. Will Boone

Will Boone is a North Carolina-based writer, educator, and musician. He received a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013 with ethnographic research on contemporary black gospel music and spirit-filled worship in a Durham, North Carolina church. His publications include academic essays... Read More →

Saturday May 20, 2017 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
The Bullpen